Iron Age pottery, Victorian tin toys and butchered bone: Six archaeological finds in eastern England this year

By Ben Miller | 22 June 2015

Six discoveries made by the University of Cambridge's archaeological division in the UK this year

A Victorian tin toy whistle in Essex

A photo of a small grey tin whistle from an archaeological dig
Hadleigh, a Saxon word meaning ‘a clearing in the heath,’ is a small town near Southend, well-known for the ruins of Hadleigh Castle, a 13th-century Grade I listed building and scheduled monument maintained by English Heritage.

Pottery sherds indicate Roman occupation on the high ground, looking over the River Thames. A Victorian tin toy whistle and here early-20th century farthings could have been lost from a hole in a pocket.

Finds and pottery sherds in medieval Hampshire

A photo of various dark red archaeological sherds
A dozen test pits, spread through the village of North Warnborough, included a 20th century coal yard where a heavily compacted chalk floor surface – described as “incredibly difficult” to dig – provided fragments from a hard layer.

High medieval pottery had previously been found during three years of pitting in the area.

A slate domino in Cambridgeshire

A close-up photo of a domino-like stone being held by an open hand
Sawtry is a village situated just west of the Fens, originally housing three separate estates and used as a centre for salt production during the medieval period. One of the three manors was named after and owned by a niece of William the Conquerer who founded a 12th century abbey there.

The archaeological team found their first ever slate domino here, probably dating from the 18th or 19th century. The slate portion of the domino would have originally been attached to a wooden or bone plinth as its base.

Iron Age pottery in Essex

A photo of a curved piece of dark red knobbly stone from an archaeological dig
Prehistoric settlements are known in Southminster, so this piece of pottery could relate to the period. Among 11 pits, some possible Roman pottery was found in the grounds of a residential home.

A Victorian ash pit produced masses of ceramic and butchered bone. One pit was also excavated in the grounds of the town church.

Bronze Age pottery and prehistoric burnt flint near Norwich

A photo of people looking at pieces of archaeological stone spread across a table
A sherd of decorated Early Anglo-Saxon pottery, found in the small village of Brundall, could have come from a cremation urn.

Another sherd, dating to the 6th or 7th centuries, is only the second of its type found by the team in more than 2,000 test pits during the past ten years.

Bellarmine jug remains in Suffolk

A photo of a circular white piece of pottery being held by an open hand
Excavating 12 pits in the village of Walberswick, archaeologists found this fragment of European stoneware from the 16th or 17th centuries. Medieval pottery was found in many of the test pits dispersed throughout the village.

Two potential sherds of Roman or Late Saxon origin were produced from one pit. Post-medieval and Georgian or Victorian pottery, a Victorian rubbish pit and a Victorian bisque dolly were also discovered.

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More from Culture24's Archaeology section:

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Archaeologists find coins, bow brooches and bones among Iron Age and Roman discoveries in Peterborough

Archaeologists find Britain's oldest human cremation at Mesolithic pit in Essex
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