Now preparing for season fourteen, at Saveock Water Archaeology. What we do.
Advantages of digging at Saveock Water Archaeology
4 miles from site
Non fiction by Jacqui Wood
Signed copies available
Click on the cover to see images from the book.
Signed copies available
June 2014 - August 2014
Monday - Friday
DIG DIARY 2008 DIG DIARY 2009
DIG DIARY 2013
On our facebook page
A ritual pool with some very interesting finds !
Religion or Ritual ?
Witches of Cornwall !
International Lecturer and Author
Papers & Articles by Jacqui
Mesolithic Studies in the North Sea Basin and Beyond: Proceedings of a conference held at Newcastle in 2003.
Archaeology Experiences Sprituality
Edited by Dragos Gheorghiu
Well we are just about to start our 14th season at Saveock. During an April dig week in 2012 we were filming with National Geographic in partnership with Channel 5 for a documentary about the site. The weather was horrendous, cold and very wet and two of our local team members Ryan and Sarah assisted by Lottie tried to excavate a pit each on camera. Unfortunately both pits turned out to be empty but we now have 45 new pits unexcavated to look at next season. The programme was aired on Channel 5 in the Autumn and National Geographic Chanel the following year
In 2012 we opened up a completely different area and as usual at Saveock were amazed and baffled at what we found. Underneath an ancient soil layer dated to the Bronze Age we excavated part of a furnace which indicates it was used for tin smelting. We have a Bronze Age furnace on another part of the site and when it is hot the area is covered with copper sulphates but this furnace has no copper residue in it. Also above this furnace is a hearth like feature that has large clusters of clear crystals set into it you can see pictures of it on our face book page Saveock Water Archaeology. We excavated last season an extensive stone feature possibly a drip gully for a dwelling or a path. This is where we are concentrating our excavation in the 2014 season to see if we can find the habitation area for these features.
Again I feel I need to
emphasise that this dig is a training dig,
but it is training out in the field not in a lecture room. Novice
diggers will for the first few days be digging topsoil, but it will
be topsoil we have not dug before so you will be doing real
archaeology from day one. If it is wet we will do post excavation
work which is just as important to any dig as trowelling is. We believe that the best place to learn is in the field doing what professional archaeologists do. Class room teaching is no substitute for getting your hands dirty and emptying buckets. We do have set features on site to teach section drawing and planning but these are real features not made up ones. Once a week we do spend an hour in my lecture room with a slide show of the other work I do which is Experimental Archaeology. I worked on the ‘Ice Man’ ‘Otzi’ artefacts for the museum where he is exhibited in
There is a tour of our facilities page, so you can see we are not a Porta cabin in a muddy field. We are a well equipped research excavation that believes archaeology should be available to anyone who wants to learn how to dig. For those of you new to the site for the first time here is a brief synopsis of the earlier phase of the excavation in this sheltered river valley in Mid Cornwall. The site covers a period from the Mesolithic to 17th century Pagan Swan feather pits (more information about these can be found by clicking on the link in the Feather Pits, and Goat pit sections on the right of this page).
In the Mesolithic the main site trench was over a south facing peat bank on the bend of a river that was between two shallow lakes. This entire site has been purposely covered with various different coloured clays in an attempt to make the river bank a suitable place for dwellings. In the area A/2 the first phase of the site, is what we believe to be a Mesolithic dwelling platform covered with dense green clay surrounded by stony yellow clay in which the stakes to support the dwelling were driven. The next phase we believe (and the jury is still out on this) is the use of the constant spring line to make some sort of Neolithic ritual area. We say ritual because we cannot think of any conceivable reason why people would make stone lined drains covered with 30cm of green admix clay. Then manufacture a large rectangular pool lined with white quartz cores, unless it was for some ritual purpose. In season five (2005) we found another rectangular pool next to the original this one only fills with water from a spring in the bank at the back of it in mid Winter.
These features are at present unique in Cornish or from what we have researched British archaeology. The only similar feature we have found is the Neolithic clay platform that is underneath the Maeshowe monument on Orkney. A trench put into this platform revealed a stone lined drain almost identical to ours. So if you feel like a bit of adventure and learn how to dig at the same time come and join us in our 13 th season.
Due to research commitments with the Bronze Age roundhouse we have on side the dig season is going to be shortened to 6 weeks in 2014. First week starting Monday 30th June to the Friday 15th August. Yes for the first time in 13 years we are going to be working like everyone else Monday to Friday instead of Sunday to Thursday! Students booking in Blocks of 4 will get £25 per per person per week reduction in the field school fee which is £200 per week and an optional extra £25 per week for lunch. Otherwise bring a packed lunch and refreshments will be free.
Monday 30th june to Friday 15th