Hello! This week’s post is, I’m afraid, both late and short on original material, simply because I’m otherwise engaged – or entangled – or even bogged down – in archaeobotany. That is to say, I’m examining charred plant remains from a certain Anglo-Saxon site in Kent, to find out (a) what crops were being cultivated, and (b) what the growing conditions might have been like – hopefully, some indication will be given by the weeds which were accidentally harvested along with the crop, and whose seeds are found amongst the grain. More on this story later, perhaps. And I really should write more about archaeobotany here anyway, as it’s a staple of agricultural archaeology.
But anyway, since I’ve mentioned this Kentish site, I’m minded to recommend the official blog, narrating progress on this year’s excavations. It’s very readable, very informative, and rather nicely illustrated with on-site photographs. It’s also a fascinating site in its own right: previous digs have investigated a monastic estate centre from the Middle Saxon period (7th-9th centuries AD), and current work is looking at an adjacent zone which may be the site of an earlier high-status settlement – which makes the recently-discovered large hall building rather exciting. But don’t take my word for it! See for yourself at the Lyminge blog. And in case you think I’m going off-topic by recommending this, I’ll remind you that this is the site that produced a 7th-century plough coulter in 2010 – unique for England in this period, and of great significance in agricultural archaeology. And, yes, I really should write a post (or several) about ploughs, coulters, and all that fascinating stuff.
While I’m at it, I’ll recommend a couple of other blogs too. The first is by Francis Pryor, publicly famous as a regular on Channel 4’s excellent Time Team, archaeologically famous as the excavator of Flag Fen, and now author of ‘In the long run‘. The tagline is “Archaeology, rural life, and the lessons of history”, so you get a bit of digging (including Time Team, if you want a preview of what to expect in the next series), a bit of farming and gardening, and a few socio-political comments as well. A lively mix, and a lively style to match.
Finally, if you’ll excuse a deviation from agricultural archaeology, I’d like to mention Dr Jonathan Jarrett’s academic blog on early medieval Europe. Not only does this chat about one of the most interesting periods of European history (well, I think it is), but it also has some enjoyably candid book reviews, light-hearted but thoughtful discussions among the reader comments, and an insight into the life and work of an Oxford history lecturer. If that kind of thing interests you, as it does me, take a look.
Disclaimer: No responsibility taken for content of external sites. Other blogs are available. Indeed, I may soon be recommending them – if I’m pushed for time again next week.