Monday, 27 August 2012

The Treasurer's House, Martock, Somerset

This bank holiday I visited a National Trust property called The Treasurer's House. The oldest building was from the early 13th c. The ground floor was for storage and the upper floor for living, including a communal hall and a private bedroom, or solar, with access to a garderobe block with latrine and clothes storage. The smell supposed to have kept out the bugs!

In this early structure is found a nice surviving fresco, in the solar, of the Crucifixion. 

By 1300 the Great Hall had been built and was a place of assembly separate from the private residence.

The main hall
By 1500 the garderobe had gone and was replaced by a kitchen. The ground floor of the solar was now a parlour with a door to the kitchen. There was probably a gallery for musicians or spectators at meetings in the main hall. By the 17th c. the gallery had been covered and converted into rooms.

The house today
If you are in Somerset it is well worth a visit, but it is only open Sunday, Monday & Tuesday during summer. It is a pity that more archaeology is not being done in the surrounding grounds, as I am sure it would add more to the story of the people who lived here.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Bridport & Beaminster classes

Just a reminder for those looking in that my classes start on the 9th and 12th September.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Ham Hill tour

Thanks to Hayley Roberts for showing us around the excavations at Ham Hill this past Sunday morning.

I had the wrong entrance, as the site is away from the main car park to the hillfort/country park area. I had to drive to where I had directed the students and herd them to the right place!

Once there Hayley gave an introduction to the work being carried out. The main focus is a large open area focused on trackways and enclosure ditches, some dating from the Bronze Age but mostly Iron Age. Some roundhouses and burials have also been found.

She then showed us some finds.

Which included:

A nice example of Glastonbury Ware

A Roman ballista bolt
We then had a look at the smaller trenches being cut across the ramparts.

One of the trenches through the ramparts had unearthed some in situ pottery.

Most exciting for me was meeting Nail Sharples, who dug Maiden Castle in the '80s. This was a rare chance to see a hillfort under excavation and everyone was grateful to Hayley for taking us around.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Ham Hill Map

For all those that are coming to Ham Hill this Sunday here is a map. Yeovil is to the right and the blue P is where you are aiming for. There are signs from Yeovil. I'll be around wearing a hi-viz vest. See you there at 10.45am.  

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Archaeology Courses

I have two courses starting in September: one at Bridport on the 9th at the Quakers Meeting House, South Street and the other at Beaminster Museum on the 12th. Both are in the evening 7-9pm. £80 for ten sessions including two site tours and refreshments. The course is called Site Stories and will be about some of the best and most famous sites excavated in England.
Contact: 0776 869 51 62

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Walks - 11th & 18th August

Durngate Forum
For Dorset locals I have a walk in Dorchester (meeting at the library) on Saturday 11th and one starting at Little Bredy church on Saturday 18th to see the Long Barrow. Both 10.30am and should last about 1.5 hours.  

Hope to see you there.

Ayia Triada

The royal villa of Ayia Triada was erected in the New Palace period c. 1600 BC and was destroyed at the end of the 15th c. BC. It was decorated in palatial luxury, with gypsum facing slabs, painted floors and wall paintings. It is in the shape of an irregular L.

The ruler's quarters are in the north-west corner of the complex and comprise of the main hall, a portico and light-well, a room with a 'bench' and a revetment of gypsum slabs and a peristyle courtyard with fine views.

The Minoan settlement, the 'village' of the New Palace (17th-15th c. BC) and Post-Palace (14th-13th c. BC) periods lies to the north of the villa. The 'agora' was erected in the square on the east side of it and was a large complex of eight storerooms or shops, fronted by a long rectangular portico with columns and pilasters.

Later, sanctuaries were built in the Protogeometric and Geometric periods and the sanctuary of Zeus Velchanos functioned in the Hellenistic period. There are also sporadic finds from Roman and Venetian-Turkish times. 

Whilst there I chatted with the Italian director of the small dig taking place this year and he showed me around the site and some of the finds.

Tools of the trade


Some fine stonework
Special mention should be made of the unique stone sarcophagus, painted with composite scenes showing the cult of the dead.