Of courses, of course

One of the best things about SHARP is being able to teach, and be taught, new knowledge, skills and ideas.

We’ve built up an impressive range of courses over the years, and are always looking to improve and create new ones. And because the courses are based on what our expert team members already know, they reflect the expertise of people who have been there, done that, and love to teach others about it.

Here’s a little run-down of the courses that were taught over Season 2017.

BERT – Basic Excavation and Recording Techniques

The BERTs (as trainees on this course are called) had a great time this year. Hard graft and focussed concentration turned archaeological novices with little or no experience into confident diggers in six days… and has hopefully inspired them to do more in future.

Our BERT courses, run most weeks, have inspired many, many people to go on to careers, degrees and even PhDs in archaeology. We’re pretty proud of that.

BERTs working with others on Trench 23

BERTs, working with others, on Trench 23

Week 3 BERTs wrapping up

Week 3 BERTs wrapping up

Introduction to post-excavation on a wet afternoon

Introduction to post-excavation on a wet afternoon

Archaeometallurgy

We’ve posted before about Ellie’s outstanding course on working metal in a field, with handmade crucibles and furnaces, smelting iron the old-fashioned way by the light of a dying day and a convenient thunderstorm…

See the post from a few weeks ago here.

Mixing muck for furnace bricks

Mixing muck for furnace bricks

The 2017 archaeo-metallurgy team

The 2017 archaeo-metallurgy team and their smelter

Environmental archaeology

Animal, vegetable or mineral… the enviro course covered it all. Dealing with macro remains – including animal bones and shells – as well as the micro-world of flotation for seeds and tiny creatures, this course demonstrated how we recover stuff to gain information, and thus make sense of what has happened in the soil in the past.

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Evi, Ewan and Jess present their week at Site Tour

Human remains

The crack HR team taught not one but two courses – an introductory week followed by further studies over another five days. By the end of it, normal people had been turned into obsessive bone-experts, which we thought was a good thing. Isn’t it?

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Lorraine takes the group through the intricacies of skeletal development

Ray discusses how the way we work affects our skeleton

Ray discusses how the way we work affects our skeleton

Medieval landscape

This course combined historical sources with a study of landscape and archaeology to understand more about how the economy of later medieval – post-Norman conquest – Sedgeford worked in co-operation with other estates of the period. The answer: closely, and probably in more complex ways than we may have previously thought.

Talking about the medieval Sedgeford economy during Site Tour presentations

Talking about the medieval Sedgeford economy during Site Tour presentations

Building investigation

Brian’s course drew upon his 50-odd years as a building surveyor to cover the basics of how to record a standing building and recover as much as possible of its history. This year, the subject of study was a building from the World War I aerodrome in Sedgeford’s east, almost 100 years old and certainly derelict, but with a story yet to tell.

Taking notes and making measurements

Taking notes and making measurements

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Brian, Kathryn and the object of this year’s standing building affection (great boiler suit, Kath!)

Everyday Life in Anglo-Saxon Sedgeford

This 3-day course is wrapping up our season with a tour through village life and household  hints of the 8th and 9th centuries to learn what the Saxons of Sedgeford cooked, ate, dressed in, lived in and what they thought (we think).

(photo to follow)

And that’s it for 2017! Phew!

It’s been a great year of courses, and a lot of people have come and gone from the Boneyard, satisfied and more knowledgeable for their visit.

We’re currently putting together the list of courses for 2018. There will be new ones as well as some of the old. It’s bound to be another fantastic year of discovery and learning.

Keep an eye on our website – www.sharp.org.uk – or email bookings@sharp.org.uk to register your interest and we’ll let  you know what will be on offer.

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The Enviro Tree lives on

Those who have been following our adventures this season will recall that in Week 1 the old Enviro Tree, under which the original environmental archaeology hut used to shelter on the edge of the Old Trench, fell on its face and was thus, sadly, felled.

The mighty, fallen

The mighty, fallen

At the time the idea sprouted to use some of its beautiful and fragrant timber to make lasting mementoes and preserve its memory.

Well, we’ve done it. We have Enivro Tree Art!

Ray was kind enough to provide a photo from 2007, showing the tree and its hut in all their former glory.

Summer 2007: the tree and its hut on Old Trench

Summer 2007: the tree and its hut on Old Trench

Then Mel contributed with a sketch that highlighted (and considerably tidied up!) the tree, hut and its all-important tap.

Screen Shot tree stippled

Tree, hut and tap

David took advantage of a trip home to take some bits of tree branch, run them through his bandsaw and provided us some lovely slices of wood, perfect for turning into new things.

And finally, Ellie’s family laser cutter was able to create art from bits of dead tree.

Brooch, plaque and pendant!

Brooch, plaque and pendant!

Now we have Enviro Tree pendants, coasters, a brooch and even a plaque to put on the wall of New Enviro to preserve the memory of what has come before. A lasting memento of a beautiful thing.

Even better, the tree has helped keep many of us warm this season, providing us with firewood most evenings to sit around, as well as the benches to sit upon.  They have been well-used around that fire, and will continue to be so for years to come.

Around the campfire

Around the campfire

So the tree will live on, in form and spirit. Vale the Enviro Tree!

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The SHARP summer season poem

A short but sweet post today, courtesy of our very own skeletal trauma specialist and dreamy wordsmith Ray, who sums up beautifully what many of us feel about being here.

Chalkpitfield poem

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Nature’s tiny things

We’re now well into Week 5, with less than a fortnight of Season 2017 to go. Many of us have been resident on the Boneyard for over a month.

All around us, nature is poised to take over again when we leave. Many little things remind us of this constantly.

Here are a few to share.

Boneyard grass meets Reeddam nettle in the old trench

Boneyard grass meets Reeddam nettle in the Old Trench

Rain on a tent

Rain on tent canvas

Cracked paint on the old Enviro wagon

Cracked paint on the old Enviro wagon

Enviro tree rings

Enviro tree rings

Representative of the 2017 Great Plague of Tiny Frogs

Representative of the 2017 Great Plague of Tiny Frogs

Rust on the fire pit wheelbarrow

Rust on the fire pit wheelbarrow

Fence post hidey-hole for a sleepy snail

Fence post hidey-hole for a sleepy snail

Moss on the river bridge

Moss on the bridge over the river

Snail trails on the shower block

Snail trails on the shower block

Rain on Boneyard grass

Rain on Boneyard grass

Moss on the track fence

Lichen on the fence

Old wire and new ivy

Old wire and new ivy

The symmetry of nettles

The beautiful symmetry of nettles

Tent lodger

Tent lodger

 

 

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