Monday, 3 November 2014

Report: Focus on the Finds Hut

Whilst the diggers worked hard excavating trenches, the finds team grappled with the mass outbreak of slag this season, as well as the other various categories of finds.  The slag all needed to be dried out, weighed and bagged up.  Leo was instrumental in getting this done:

Leo weighs lots and lots of slag ...

Meanwhile, Rosalie and Janice worked on sorting out the trays (and sometimes buckets!) from the previous day.
 Janice and Rosalie sorting the slag before its laid out to dry

In between all that, they would supervise the washing of the bulk finds.
Rosalie and finds washers sheltering from the sun!
When they'd finished the initial sorting, they moved onto small finding items.  This involved giving small finded items a unique number and taking appropriate measurements. The finds would then need to be packaged and stored.

The Small Finds book

This year, due to the pottery actually drying, we even did a little bit of pottery marking!  This involves painting the pottery sherds with a line of Paraloid B-72, which is a clear acrylic resin. When it's dry, we can then mark the pottery with its context number in permanent ink. When that's dry, we then paint another layer of Paraloid B-72 over it. 

Janice marking the pottery - small, clear and neat handwriting is mandatory for marking!

When the finds are fully processed they can then be boxed up ready for removal from site. We stopped washing finds on the last Saturday, so we could concentrate on bagging up as much as possible.

On the last couple of days, whilst the trenches were being backfilled, Brian K finished up the packing of the finds and the finds hut due to the absence of Finds Officer - she is very grateful for him being able to step in and take charge at the very last moment.

The finds are now resident in York for the moment waiting for the processing to be fully completed and then they'll be dispersed to the various specialists.  The clear boxes are for small finds, and the other white tubs are normally (for Ravenglass at least) the slag.

The Ravenglass small finds - and some slag

More finds boxes awaiting their fate, along with some ... more slag!

My next blog will focus on some of the finds highlights from this year's season.

Sandra Garside-Neville, Finds Officer, Romans in Ravenglass

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