Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The Holy Grail (Archaeological update)

Ok so a bit of a cheap hook I've used there… But hey, what a find!!


Some seriously interesting stuff seems to have turned up at this grassland site intersected by Gatwick Stream. The picture above is actually of a burial urn from the Iron Age, containing human cremation remains (which have now been taken off-site for cleaning/further inspection.) This person might have been someone of importance and was possibly female judging by the other objects recovered nearby.

A long-range view of the dig site at Gatwick Stream during yet more extreme weather conditions (maybe someone was trying to tell them something?)

A glass bead found close to the burial urn, Iron Age

A spindle whorl, part of a tool once used for spinning fibres. Iron Age

The dig has been going on since early March and it seems to have turned up a rather decent assemblage of archaeological periods on just one site.


Evidence of an Iron Age settlement onsite was in the form of two roundhouses, associated boundary ditches, pits and some possible evidence of iron-working. Andrew Hunn of Network Archaeology told me one of the 1 metre-square test-pits produced 164 worked flint fragments of the Mesolithic era; the second most productive pit probably did not produce half as many!


Hope is another archaeologist with Netarch and she found this impressive specimen; apparently her first ever skeletal discovery... Not a bad one I'm guessing! It is a horse lying on its back, its legs akimbo. Dating has proved difficult due to the nature of the remains and its positioning in the soil, so the speculative range given so far is from the Medieval period up to a couple of hundred years before present.

The ribs and lower mandible of the horse: it also had some unusually large tusk-like teeth which were probably the result of a genetic mutation

Another of the Mesolithic worked flint fragments which have been found on this site; still sharp!

Just to prove there was some ecological purpose to my being here: a picture of two Common Buzzard wheeling over the site during a bird survey. (My birding photos are generally all terrible like this one.)

And last but not least... a five pence piece. Also, here is a tanged and barbed flint arrowhead discovered by Andrew Hunn in 2012 at the nearby site of the water treatment lagoon.

This excavation at Gatwick Stream is almost over and I will be sad to see the interesting ensemble of people leave but you never know... there may be more discoveries yet!
Here is a link to the previous blog post about Gatwick's archaeology:
http://biodiversitygatwick.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/underwater-excavations.html