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Evidence for jam-making
#1
Recently worked on an eval, found a sort of pondy-type feature the samples from which produced seeds - our enviro bod thought they were raspberry/blackberry, so I suggested to the supervisor in a frivolous moment that it was a jam pit. She went off to work on the report, and a bit later came back and said "You might like to read this."Big Grin

Other Features – Jam Pit

One large feature was partially uncovered in Trench 4 [406]/[408]. This was a minimum length of 8.5m north-south to a minimum width of 1.50m. It was excavated on the southern edges, and the total extent of this unusual feature, including depth was not uncovered. In section, the feature’s southern edges had shallow, uneven and concave profiles varying from 0.08m to 0.3m deep.

The fills were dissimilar, but each contained 2 distinct fills, chocolate and raspberry/blackberry. The primary fill was composed of a dark brown chocolate (404), 0.29m thick. It contained a large amount of raspberry/blackberry seeds suggesting deposition during a very successful and huge amount of jam making one Autumn after the disuse of (404). The different fills suggest a change of fillings within the doughnuts had occurred, possibly moving from the covered chocolate icing on the top to the jam fillings (403) in the middle much appreciated by archaeologists at tea time throughout the country. Above (403) a fragmented, partially articulated skeleton of a cow was recovered. The in-situ skeleton and seeds provide evidence of greedy bovines who wanted to eat the jam, during production/storage. In this case it was fatal as it slipped in from the side and drowned. Consequently, as a result of this tragic accident, manufacture of jam had to stop and the jam pit was covered with 0.34m of brown, silty clay (400).

Associated with this sugary fabrication are 2 linears to the north, uncovered in Trench 3 and aligned north-south. These contain similar fills, and suggest that the jam pit [408] may actually have been a huge jam jar, the conserve flowing into the pit from production further to the north. The alignment of the jam channels is certainly nothing to do with the setting/rising of the sun and therefore a ritualistic interpretation can be ruled out. However, the shadow of the banks as the sun set may have been linked to an intricate time piece indicating when the consumption of jam/doughnuts was feasible. The large, open area to the east of the site can be interpreted as a communal place to eat the jam/doughnuts. The production site may possibly have been in the medieval village to the west, but as yet no recognisable features or artefacts concerned with jam production have been recovered from the recent excavations.


You can always tell a Brummie... but you can't tell him much
You can always tell a Brummie... but you can't tell him much
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#2
Looks good to me - I once worked on a site where one of the layers melted when it got hot!!
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#3
The depth of (403) is not stated. Therefore I am unsure if the cow skeleton can actually be interpreted as evidence of 'greedy bovines'. Surely to have drowned the cow would have had to actually fall into (403), and so possibly penetrate the upper horizon of the dark brown chocolate (404)? I respectfully suggest that the cow's location "above" the jam layer (403) does in fact support a ritual deposition - a more gentle process than falling into the pit.

Therefore the assertion that "a ritualistic interpretation can be ruled out" must be questioned.

Oral history and other evidence suggests in fact that the consumption of jam is actually accompanied by a series of intense rituals - although in the modern incarnation the sacrifice of cows has been sanitised to the consumption of hamburgers beforehand.

I can't wait for the open area excavation...


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#4
Now that's just silly. Cows prefer strawberry, I thought everyone knew that...
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#5
How sweet!
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#6
I'm surprised that no-one has noticed the perfectly obvious economic function of the animal bone: gelatin. There really isn't any need for all of this unsubstantiated 'ritual' interpretation.

'In the busy market there are fortunes to be won and lost, but in the cherry orchard there is peace'.
Chinese proverb
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#7
I once carried out an evaluation of a former non-conformist chapel that had subsequently been used as a jam storage warehouse. The building had been destroyed by fire in the 1930s and ended in what had been recorded as a substantial explosion. I can confirm that jam retains a great amount of stickiness over a long period outside of the jar, and some of this stickiness had worked its way down through the soil and was represented on the surface of the bones of the non-conformist burials around the outer edge of the building - at least that's how we explained it to ourselves during the job.


Beamo
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#8
I would not dismiss the ritual interpretation quite as readily as Tom. The bovine skeleton was partially articulated which suggests ritual deposition rather than an industrial process (not the the two are necessarily mutually exclusive of course). Although fragmented, how complete was the skeleton? Would it not be evident if gelatin had been extracted?

I wonder if this indicates a rite acknowledging that jam and doughnuts are frivalous, unhealthy, unnecessary foodstuffs (albeit very nice) and in order to justify or "pay for" their consumption, a meat/2dy products beast had to be sacrificed, or removed from circulation and availability as if it had been consumed?

We owe the dead nothing but the truth.
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#9
You don't put gelatin in jam... Big Grin

You can always tell a Brummie... but you can't tell him much
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#10
You don't??? Ah... thats where I have going wrong.!

"No job worth doing was ever done on time or under budget.."
Khufu
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