Environmental Group

The Group

This group runs alongside the Pottery Study Group, and is lead by Kay Boreland. It studies the soils from the excavations at Chewton Mendip through flotation and dry-sieving. Meeting fortnightly and with scope for private study at home, the members are painstakingly looking at soils from various key areas of the dig, in particular the Saxon artisan contexts. With their home-built flotation machine and a good selection of microscopes they have already found an array of micro-evidence which would otherwise have been completely missed. This ranges from seeds, tiny bones, metal particles, hammerscale and much, much more. The photos show the group in action.

November 2021

At last we can gather the Environmental group together after a very long break due to Covid.

The first activity is tidying up the samples still awaiting analysis. Brand new tubs for the occasion and soil samples transferred in just a couple of hours!

Some of our past activities which have given us much information about the dig site

Left: Discussing the flotation machine

Right: The group doing microscopic study on the contents of the black soils of the Saxon occupation levels

Right: Dry sifting of soils looking for small particles and for magnetic responses

Part of our Enviro lab

Samples waiting for analysis

Below: Examples of finds under the microscope and photographed by Brian Irwin

Left: Total magnetic content of context 24/003. Some occurs naturally in the soil, some is as a result of human activity.

Left: Flake and spherical hammerscale extracted from total mass. This gives an indication of smithing activity in this area of the excavation.

Fish scale

Onion skin

Shrew jaw bone

Charred wheat grain compared with modern grain