A Life In Fragments

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Giving my spears the shaft

On Thursday, I got to do one of the things I’ve been most excited to do – I got to stick haft my barbed spearheads. These spearheads are based on the destroyed Bloody Pool hoard making them an incredibly suitable case study to replicate and experiment with. I have a special place in my heart for spearheads – more so than swords and axes! (more…)

Breaking apart Bronze Age swords: Smashing good fun!

Last Thursday, I took an impromptu trip to Butser Ancient Farm to assist Neil Burridge with some sword casting he was doing as part of a filming project with 360 Production (the guys who make Digging for Britain!) Needless to say, the casting went well, Neil produced an expertly delivered spiel on bronze sword casting, and everyone was very happy. It was after the camera crew had done their thing that we turned to the main event of my day – that is, breaking the sword into fragments. (more…)

From the Depths of the Bloody Pool…

Legend has it that there was once a fierce battle between Viking marauders and the native population somewhere in south-east Dartmoor. It raged on for hours and hours; swords and shields smashed against each other in a scene worthy of Peter Jackson, and much blood was spilled on both sides with hundreds of people left slain. Eventually, however, the natives were victorious, forcing the Vikings to flee back to their longships. There is a “pool”, not much more than a marsh now, said to mark the spot of this battle, from which one might still hear the sounds of the dead and at times it will turn red with the memory of their blood. From this pool in 1854, they retrieved a set of bronze spears… (more…)

My PhD is Turning Me into a Zombie

It was dark. Having abandoned my glasses I could just make out a faint orange glow from a lantern in the path ahead of me. My face itched from dried blood and my skin prickled as the wind occasionally whipped through my muddy, slashed t-shirt. I heard screams from the unseen longhouse. Trailing a limp leg behind me, I started to utter groans of an undead man and dragged myself towards the noise. I’d been warned that my PhD would zombify me, but I never expected it to actually happen… (more…)

Point Break: A Broken Sword at Salisbury Museum

You’ll be disappointed to hear that it’s only a quick post from me this time in my desperate attempt to keep up with myself! But never fear, there shall be a lengthy epic in the next couple of weeks! I had been eagerly awaiting my trip to Salisbury Museum for some time – Salisbury is a veritable goldmine of prehistoric material, sitting in the heart of Stonehenge Land (once Disney are done with Star Wars and Marvel, I’m pretty certain this is going to be their next venture) and their possession of a good chunk of Dorset material meant I had a valid excuse to go and enjoy myself in a new place! (more…)

There’s Method In The Fragments

It’s been a while since I wrote one of these – it’s been a busy month – and I’d like to be able to regale you with exciting tales of deciphering archaeological riddles in diaries, saving dismayed damsels-in-distress, and avoiding arrows flying out of walls. My time has unfortunately mostly been spent writing conference papers, intermitted with some more intriguing museum visits. (more…)

Everything is Ore-some: Prehistoric Archaeometallurgy at Butser

Last weekend I had the absolutely amazing experience attending a Prehistoric Archaeometallurgy course at Butser Ancient Farm in the South Downs of Hampshire. Much like the Terramare Park I visited in Italy last month, at Butser they’ve been building reconstructions of prehistoric houses from all periods and experimenting with various prehistoric crafts, growing past crops and rearing ancient livestock for over forty years.

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