I uploaded a post a few days ago about the excavations for Grantham’s Southern Relief Road (read that here), but some new images from the excavation have emerged in the Grantham Journal newspaper (see them here), so I thought I’d add them here too.
The first image is of one of the burials, in this case a female burial. The article describes her as being buried with copper alloy bracelets (presumably those visible in the photograph) and part of a pottery vessel (which I can’t see if its in the photo). There appear to be three bracelets, two high on the chest and a third lower down on the midriff, suggesting that they were placed on top of the body rather than being worn.
The burial was on an east-west alignment, leading to the suggestion that it represents a 4th Century Christian burial. It is, however, unsafe to assume religious belief purely on burial orientation, particularly when grave goods are present, which a Christian burial might be expected not to have. Our understanding of late Roman Christianity sadly does not make such identification easy.
The second image is this lovely copper alloy spoon, somewhat oddly described as an ‘unknown object’ in the article. The size of the spoon would suggest it was for eating rather than for extracting liquids or ointments from jars, and the form would suggest a date from the 2nd Century onwards (Mould 2011). The long, pointed handle of such spoons has long been thought to have been used to help eat creatures such as oysters, snails or mussels.
The final image I want to highlight is of a possible kiln – certainly a substantial stone-lined structure at any rate. The discovery of any such structure is always fascinating for what it can tell us of local production and trade, but I also like the fact that this particular photograph really gives a sense of the rubble-strewn archaeological site!
I am sure that this site has plenty more to tell us, both during excavation and when the results start to be analysed in more detail so I have a feeling this won’t be my last blog post about it.
Mould Q. 2011. Domestic Life. In Allason-Jones, L. (Ed.) Artefacts in Roman Britain: Their purpose and use. Cambridge University Press