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Full Version: Archaeologists need new home for six tonnes of Northamptonshire artefacts
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kevin wooldridge Wrote:I recall photographs of a crocodile.....

Worked the following summer with someone who was there when it came up out of one of the big ditch sections, and apparently it was actually a small cayman, actually just the wire frame, some scraps of hide and a glass eye - the story goes that Wheeler had 'borrowed' it one day from the Dorchester Museum and used it as a pointing aid when giving site tours [if nothing else, the man had style!], and must have chucked it in when he deemed its job to have been done. The 1980s publication seems to have been the victim of allowing students to use my local university library, otherwise I'd check if there's a printed account of the (re)discovery [and a small-finds report? - nah, too much to hope for...]. Anyone got a copy?

Bet the croc's still around as someone's favourite all-time best-ever site-souveneir :face-approve:
Dinosaur was actually a small cayman..

I'm getting a peculiar mental picture:

MW <gesticulates from rampart with small cayman> I want trenches here, here and here. Make it snappy!
I agree with pot.

Everyone loves digging shiny things up. But when it comes to the boring and expensive job of recording and cataloging what you've found, archiving it and getting your results published archaeology as a whole seems very shoddy.
one might suppose that this is the tip of a veritable iceburg. my car is always full of stuff thats fallen out of my pocket before i remembered to bag it up and label it. of course i regularly clear out old stuff - when i change my car
Originally Posted by kevin wooldridge [Image: viewpost-right.png]
I recall photographs of a crocodile.....

As someone who was there when it was recovered, I can confirm it was the skeleton of a cayman that was wired together and did indeed include a glass eye - which we gave to the late Peter Donaldson who had lost one of his and wore an eye-patch for much of the latter part of his life. The cayman was accompanied by a considerable quantity of other artefacts such as West African pottery vessels, all of which had been deemed surplus to requirement at Dorchester Musum and had been given to Wheeler to use in the backfilling of his trenches. There was a contemporary news photo of a very fat and jolly policeman carrying the stuffed cayman up onto Maiden Castle - a copy used to be on the wall of the site office.

Can anybody with, or connected to CLASP confirm how much of this material has been written up into either grey literature that is accessible, or published.

What you can find so far is here:
They are well organised and it is obvious that research and record is happening.

What is clear is that the loss of the storage facility came as a shock. BUT. should you collect so much? and what is the disposal policy.
Reburial in sealed boxes at the sites is the only option. keep the best and most useful artefacts and get rid of the rest (as long as they are recorded) :face-huh:

BUT... they are not alone are they? How many other groups and units bulge at the seems with stuff? and museums are not all that keen to take on another tonne of local roman body sherds?
I completely agree with the disposal policy, but having looked at your link I do have grave doubts that it can be considered yet. CLASP are undertaking post-ex work but this seems an on-going and long-term process, and until it has been completed to a sufficient standard the archive cannot be assessed as to what can be disposed of. Perhaps if CLASP were to produce some reports or catalogues that, even if they were not published, but were archived on OASIS, then disposal could be addressed and perhaps some of their storage issues minimised. Storage of archives is already an exploding time bomb in archaeology, and I think PPS5-generated projects are already having to iperate disposal policies to get some archives accepted by museums.

I think many local societies, not neccesarily CLASP, need to look at how they disseminate their results if they are to continue to function. Much is being made under the banner of 'localism' of the need for proffesional archaeologists to connect with local societies and community groups, but to some extent the local societies must also connect with the modern stabdards of archaeology. Under no curcumstances do I want to discourage the involvement of amatuer archaeologists, but I repeat, it must be acknowledged that modern archaeology extends right through to the sustainable archiving.
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