Don Brothwell and Sedgeford

Many SHARPies will have been saddened to hear of the death of Don Brothwell earlier this week.

After Peter Jewell’s excavations in 1957-8, which revealed Anglo-Saxon human remains in Boneyard field, Don carried out an excavation on the site in 1960. The skeletons he excavated are now in the Duckworth Collection at Cambridge University. Although the excavation itself was not published, we believe that Don used the Sedgeford skeletons in his research into molar wear and age at death, which is presented in his classic book, Digging Up Bones (first published in 1963). Other references to Sedgeford skeletons, for example the pathologies he noted in his analysis, can be found in his large body of published work.

Professor Brothwell returned to visit the site again in the summer of 2005, when he gave a lecture and took soils samples from several burials to use in his research into organic and inorganic chemical micromorphological variation in human grave soils. This study was published as a paper entitled ‘Interred with their bones’: soil micromorphology and chemistry in the study of human remains in the March 2014 edition of Antiquity. You can read it here.

Don was able to supply the Human Remains Team with useful plans and documents relating to his excavation, without which we would know much less about the remains excavated. This information will be incorporated into the forthcoming Boneyard human remains monograph.

Charlotte Burrill has kindly supplied some photos of Don’s 2005 visit to SHARP.





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2016 Summer Lecture Season

Here is our Tuesday evening lecture programme for 2016:

  • Tuesday, 12th July: Dr John Jolleys – The Norwich cathedral priory manor of Sedgeford
  • Tuesday, 19th July: Dr Neil Faulkner – Lawrence of Arabia’s War
  • Tuesday, 26th July: Professor Carenza Lewis (Time Team) – The Medieval era
  • Tuesday, 2nd August*: Mini Symposium – History & Archaeology on both sides of the North Sea*
  • Tuesday, 9th August: Gary Rossin – Sedgeford Aerodrome and Norfolk aviation during the Great War
  • Tuesday, 16th August: An overview of the 2016 excavation season at Sedgeford

All lectures take place at St. Mary the Virgin Church, Sedgeford at 7.30pm (*Except the mini symposium on Tuesday 2nd August, which will start at 2.30pm and finish at 7.30pm).

Admission to public for all lectures – £3.00

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Visiting SHARP during the summer season

Our 2016 summer season runs from Sunday 10th July to Friday 12th August. Members of the public are very welcome to visit the site any day except Saturdays during the season, between 10am and 4pm, for an informal tour. We also hold a weekly site tour on Friday afternoons at 4pm.

The 2016 Grand Open Day will take place on Sunday 7th August, 10am-4pm. This is a free event with a small car parking charge (there will be signs up on the day directing you to the car parking area). There will be regular site tours through the day, children’s activities, talks, exhibitions and merchandise. We look forward to seeing you there!

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Geophysical Survey Equipment

As some of you may be aware, thanks to recent benefactor donations, we now have our magnetometer equipment. The kit in question is a Bartington Grad601 Single Axis Magnetic Field Gradiometer, with which we will be using TerraSurveyor software.IMG_6158

The geophysical survey of the northern end of Chalk Pit field, carried out by Grid Nine Geophysics in 2007, was a very valuable piece of research that has enabled the project to accurately target its excavations of the Anglo-Saxon settlement and associated grain drying ovens.

The immediate plan is to train a small team how to operate the equipment and interpret the survey data produced. Once up to speed, it is then hoped that we can get on with surveying other areas within the local landscape. Two such that spring to mind being an extension south of the current Chalk Pit field geophys and the SE area of Hall Field.

There are so many areas of potential within the Sedgeford landscape to make geophysical survey a long-term project in its own right. We also hope to offer future non-invasive techniques courses which will allow others how to operate and use the equipment.

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