Yesterday archaeologists from Somerset Heritage Service joined members of the Stoke St Mary local history group for a day of test pitting. We hoped to uncover early Medieval evidence (pre 13th century) for Stoke St Mary. Rain was forecast but thankfully held off enabling us to dig test pits in two back gardens.
It wasn’t long before finds were quickly discovered and these included pieces of willow patterned and transfer printed pottery, nails, animal teeth, clay tobacco pipes and a thimble. As the digging progressed we were rewarded by sherds of probable early 12th century pottery, just what we were hoping for! Then some even more exciting finds turned up including some Saxo-Norman pottery (10th to 11th centuries) and a piece of possible Romano-British colour coated pottery (perhaps a fragment of a small beaker or candlestick). As we expected, early villagers were discarding their rubbish at the bottom of their garden plots.
Thanks are due to the villagers of Stoke St Mary for the loan of their gardens, the cups of tea (and biscuits!) but most of all for their boundless enthusiasm and their local knowledge.
We hope to return to the village soon to do some further investigations.
Taking a break from trowelling. Tom Mayberry, Head of Somerset Heritage Service and Chair of the Stoke St Mary Local History group, on the right.
Sieving to discover finds
Bob Croft, County Archaeologist with a newly discovered find
A Romano-British candlestick?