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  • David Quick

Stroud (Day 8) and Alton Archaeology Day

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

I cannot really say very much about Saturday at Stroud because I wasn't there so I have pinched some photos from other people from our Facebook group's page in this slideshow:

From these it is apparent that the small group of workers we left at Stroud turned up some nice finds including the pot base found by Nicky, got up to date with finds recording, met with Ron Allen again to talk about the geology, extended TP2 into the 'step' to check there was no archaeology hidden in it, and generally deepened and tidied all the test pits.

Perhaps no surprise, given the map Oliver gave us yesterday, we also found a large circle of concrete in TP5. We had indeed been very close to the sewage pipe because this circle of concrete was the base holding the sewage pipe's manhole cover.

Meanwhile, over in Alton, a team of us all converged on the Allen Gallery at 10.00am and carted all our tools, tables, and equipment through into the back garden before it was opened to the public:

In the Gallery's garden were several other exhibitors for the Archaeology Day. Arthur was on hand to set up our display stand while Chris and Stevie set up the activities for the children. Carl got out the geophys equipment and Keith and Paul set about marking out where we were to do a demonstration test pit in the flower beds. (Keith had come despite having injured his foot and Paul despite having got back late last night from a visit to the Edinburgh Fringe).

Once the doors opened to the public I was rather surprised and delighted by how busy we were. I had all my usual folders with maps, photos and so on and I talked so much that by the end of the day I was quite hoarse and had not had time for lunch. We had some lovely visitors, some of whom had brought finds with them to ask our opinion.

Just round the corner we had lots of people looking at the demo test pit - which actually produced some old pottery and glass finds. Below you can see Chris and Paul explaining what they were doing:

Stevie meanwhile was not only looking at the finds that had been brought along but was running the children's activities:

Carl and I managed to nip away briefly at about 1.00pm to do our planned recce of Alton's Public Gardens, where we hope to do a community dig next July if the Town Council agrees. We aim to do geophys surveys (magnetometry and resistivity) next Saturday, 25 August, in an area we measured at about 25 x 75 metres where Juliet and I noticed clear parch marks in the grass a fortnight ago, seen here:

During one quiet moment I was delighted to see David Allen on another stall. David recently retired as Curator of the Hampshire Cultural Trust and has been very helpful to me in the past when trying to trace the lead coffin from Stroud and where the finds from the original 1906 dig had ended up.

All in all it was a very enjoyable and hopefully successful day. Juliet tells me that as a result one prospective new member has asked to visit us at Stroud tomorrow.

[P.S. Theresa did indeed come along and join!]

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