We have enjoyed a busy and rewarding week at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, (CHAC) near Yeovil.
One of the highlights this week was helping to ‘ethically transfer’ a selection of archaeological material to Ham Hill Country Park.
The assortment of scrapers and Samian ware was originally brought in together with some plans of Hendford Manor and staff were informed that if the items were not wanted they could be disposed of.
‘Disposal’ can be quite a broad term and does not simply mean ‘throw away’ or ‘recycle’ although due to condition, this can be the case. Staff initially thought educational use for community talks or activities. However, upon closer inspection, many of the finds were in envelopes marked in pen with “Ham Hill” or “Chiselborough.”
Therefore, the considered option was to return the 10 envelopes to Ham Hill straight away.
Before this was completed, the finds were shown to the Somerset Finds Liaison Officer (FLO). They had asked to see them, just in case any were worth recording on the national finds database, as part of the Portable Antiquities Scheme. This is important, as the finds could have been transferred straight to Ham Hill, where indeed (according to the envelopes) many of them came from in the first place. The items would then have a key role in educational activities and community engagement projects. However, any significant details about the items; what they are made of; where they are from and perhaps most importantly, how old they are, could become lost if the items were not checked over first. Certainly, CHAC and Ham Hill Staff would only have some knowledge of the items, whereas the FLO could provide much more detailed information.
Therefore, together with the named locations on the envelopes, where possible, the Somerset FLO recorded the key items. Often this could not be completed as ‘Barrow’ was too vague, but ‘Northern Spur Ham Hill’ could be connected to an Ordnance Survey Map grid reference.
At the end of this process, items like a flint scraper, were recorded, photographed and recognised for the key items they are and the information made available to be viewed on a worldwide basis via digital sources. The Finds Officers also aim to have printed reports on the key, recorded items made available and these would be ideal for educational purposes at Ham Hill; especially to help staff keep track of these items with the aid of the photographs, but also to highlight the key features of each item.
Staff from CHAC visited Ham Hill this Thursday with the archaeological items and because of the FLO reports, had a much greater awareness of what was being transferred. Ham Hill Staff were pleased to receive these items and are already planning a visual display with the finds in plastic ID bags provided by CHAC.
Items from the CHAC Handling Collection with a Roman or quarrying theme were also loaned for a display.
One of our recently scanned images, showing Yeovil Town Station, believed to be mid 1960s.