Hares and Hounds

Sue, who dug with us this season, has brought to our attention these nice medieval tiles from Blackfriars in Derby. They show a hare riding a hound just like our seal.


On a sadder note we’d like to note the passing of Doug, a long-standing SSARG member who excavated with us in 2012. Our condolences to his friends and family.

Farewell Yeovil, Farewell Elvis!

We’ve all safely dispersed back to our homes, families and loved ones. It was an exhausting drive in the wet conditions but we made it back to Newcastle, negotiated University security and dropped the kit and finds off.

Last night we were treated to Barry Paull’s impersonation of Elvis at the Quicksilver Mail in Yeovil. It was an excellent night, complete with dancing, raffle winning and the odd conversation about helicopters. The event was in aid of the south-east Somerset branch of the RSPCA and especially the welfare of neglected horses.

If you’ve enjoyed the blog and can spare a few pounds please consider making a donation to the RSPCA – they do incredible work.


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Thank You!

Another season of excavation draws to a close and it’s out great pleasure to record our thanks to the many individuals and institutions that make this project a success.

Many thanks to Maggie and Colin – our kind, tolerant and patient hosts – and their neighbours in Lufton who have welcomed our eccentric circus for the last three weeks.

Liz and Graham from Brympton Parish Council have been stalwart supporters for many years. We’re very grateful to them and to the Parish Council for their moral and financial support.

The South Somerset Archaeological Research Group have supported us with equipment and other kinds of assistance. We’re very grateful to them for all their help.

Mike Grinter and his digger, Brandon Hire and their portaloos also helped make this season a success. Asda provided rest and relaxation for many of the team, as did the Mason’s Arms in Odcombe.

The Western Gazette were also great – their help in publicising the excavation is much appreciated.

Finally, my own thanks go to Andew Agate, the rest of the team and everyone working behind the scenes in Newcastle. Without your input this season wouldn’t have happened.

Stay tuned for occasional updates on the post-excavation analysis!.


The Newcastle Digging Team 2014

Seeing as it has come to the end of our excavations it seems appropriate to report what have been highlights for our student digging team.


“I enjoyed the responsibility of being a supervisor over the last 3weeks the close connection between the uni digging team and SSARG members. I also really living with the numerous cats on the camp site”.

James SA
1st Year
“Working as part of a great team, deepening my archaeological knowledge and eating outdoors for 3 weeks”.

1st year
“I enjoyed shovelling, local ale particularly at The Masons Arms. Another highlight was the sumo wrestling with Janes SA at the pub.”

1st Year
“It was nice to have the opportunity to do other activities on site such as taking levels. I really enjoyed being part of a small team as well”.

1st Year
“It was nice to break up the digging by going on trips to places like Lullworth Cove. I also enjoyed seeing the archaeological process from beginning to end. It was lovely to see some kittens at the cattery on our campsite”.

1st Year
“I loved meeting some of the local characters. It was a good experience learning to dig and plan features”.

1st Year
“I enjoyed the challenged of excavating a complex archaeological site and of course winning the open mic night at The Mason’s arms in Lower Odcombe”.

1st Year
“I thought the entire dig was a really good experience and it was great to be part of a really friendly team”.

2nd year
“I really enjoyed working on this site with a fantastic bunch of people and keeping people up to date with what we are doing on site via the blog”.

The End is in Site

Yesterday was our last day on site. We began by troweling back all of tench B ready for an end of dig photo.


After photos were taken of the trench and the team, with the help of Ski, we began backfilling the large slots in both trenches

When we had finished and packed up all the kit we returned to our usual haunt at the Masons Arms for a post dig celebration.

Today has been relaxed, we breakfasted in Yeovil and have spent the day packing up the campsite.



Week 3 Wednesday

Even though we have reached the mid point of our final week in Somerset, work has not slowed down.

In trench A Hayley and Chris continued to excavate and then plan the feature which has been producing lots of medieval pottery and animal bone. Later in the afternoon part of the team began backfilling the large slot in the middle of the trench.

Today in trench B, Kimberley and Ollie spent the morning drawing a section of the NE slot. After a break they troweled the base of the ditch, assuming some interesting troweling techniques and also had a near miss with a combine harvester.

As well in trench B Andy, Flora,  and James SA investigated a ditch which predated the crunchy red fill. James G suggests that the layer found this morning contains “remnants of our ancient past” but that is how he also described our corned beef hash. It actually proved to be a ditch and contained some sherds of prehistoric and Roman pottery, a very degraded animal bone and some pieces of granite. All very mysterious but clear evidence of pre-medieval activity.

Week 3 – Tuesday

Sorry for the delay in posting. Tuesday was a busy day on site and we didn’t get around to writing it up until today.

The main event on Tuesday was the completion of James G, Kimberley and Ollie’s big slot through what has now proved to be a large and deep medieval ditch, rather than a holloway. Finds were few but we encountered our old friend the ceramic field drain.

Elsewhere the day began with some heroic mattocking and shoveling by Andy, James SA, Jess and Flora. All of this effort went into removing part of a 30cm thick layer. This layer is very red (due to iron staining) and quite tough, it’s been known on site as ‘crunchy red’ (or context 105) for most of the past week. The big medieval ditch cuts this deposit, so the ditch must be later. This was confirmed by the recovery of two pieces of Roman pottery and some prehistoric flints from the crunchy red. Rather excitingly an even earlier deposit (context 123) has been identified BELOW the crunchy red… who knows where all this might end?

Trench A saw Pete M’s splodge turn in to a rather dramatic medieval pit with quite a lots of finds. Mainly pottery but also some animal bone. Hayley and Chris had a lot of fun planning this feature in the afternoon!


Week 3 – Monday

Today was a very busy but cooler day, with lots of exciting finds.

In trench A Lucy, Chris and Pete excavate a very large amount of medieval pottery some of which was decorated. They also found some bone. The spoil from trench A was sieved by Hayley and Matt, who is a first year student from Newcastle visiting for the day.

Whilst trench A produced lots of finds, trench B produced far fewer. Kimberley, James G and Ollie continued to excavate the slot in the NE of trench B and uncovered the continuation of the field drain from the slot in the NW corner.

Also in trench B Jess dug and planned a circular feature. James SA continued to excavate another round feature and then helped Andy to remove a large red layer in the centre of the trench.

Flora and Elliot continued to excavate a pit in trench B where they found Two large pieces of bone.

You can see more photographs of the 2014 excavations on our Flickr account by searching for Lufton Archaeology.

An Evening with Dr James Gerrard

On Saturday Evening James gave a talk to members of the Lufton community about the excavations and research over the last five years, hosted by Brympton Parish Council.

The talk was also an opportunity to show of some of the finds from this years excavations, including the seal matrix found by Ski in the first week.

After a very successful raffle, James answered a number of questions from the audience about this years excavations and the archaeology of the area.

We’d like to say thank you to the parish council for their kind welcome, hospitality and generosity over the last few weeks.