by Mick James
During excavation all the finds are kept in numbered bags which ensure that the archaeologists know from which part of the excavation they originate. This is known as the Context Number. We also use this approach when we have Fieldwalking Sessions.
After excavation, (or the fieldwalk), what happens to the ‘FINDS’?
SPECIAL FINDS – Finds which are of special significance are photographed, their positions recorded and are kept separately identified by a Special Finds Number which uniquely identifies them. These may be items of intrinsic vale such as Coins etc or may be of archaeological significance in helping the archaeologist understanding an aspect of the site.
BULK FINDS – (Pottery, Tile, Brick, Glass, Metal etc) are washed (Metal excepted), counted & weighed.
Where it is possible to so do, each object is then marked with the Excavation Reference and the Context Number mentioned above.
Each type of find is then sent to the relevant expert who produces a detailed report on, for example, which pottery types were present and from where they originated.
The archaeologist then uses this information to draw his conclusions about the use of the site, who was using it and over what periods.
STORAGE – Once all the Finds for a site have been processed they are all brought together into a Site Archive which is then lodged along with all the project paperwork with a relevant organisation to be stored in suitable conditions so that they may be made available for further study in the future. In our case, the Site Archive will be kept at the NHDC Collections Centre at Burymead Road in Hitchin.