On Saturday 19th of archaeology I joined Peter Reavill (Finds Liason Officer for Shropshire and Herefordshire) and the Leintwardine History Society for a community project in the centre of Leintwardine that aimed to learn more about the varied history of this parish. The village of Leintwardine (Herefordshire) is a built upon the site of a Roman fort controling the crossing of the River Teme/Clun. Alot is known about the Roman history of the village but little is known about what happened after the Romans left. Therefore, the aim of the day was to try and find out as much about the history of the village from the artefactual assemblages as we could.
On friday afternoon I spent several hours creating a map of the village hat was nearly as big as I was, to mark locations of finds as they came in. Members of the Leintwardine Historical Society had delivered nearly 300 flyers around homes in the village asking them to collect any objects they could find on the surface in their gardens (as much of Leintwardine is a scheduled monument we didn’t want anyone digging holes without permission). We had a steady flow of people bringing things in throughout the day, including many bits of pottery, glass and metalwork of varying dates. Objects that were identified included mineral water bottles made by the company that eventually became Tanners Wine Merchants, several sherds of Roman pottery, including a lovely piece of samian ware, a broken piece from a rotary quern stone that could easily be roman or medieval, and a post medieval marble motar. We even had a small socketed iron implement brought in that looked like something out of a horro movie which Peter suggested may have been a homemade eel or fish spear. The highlight of the day however, was this fantastic piece of modern art which one occupant of the village had made by sticking all their garden finds to a rather large glass bottle or jar. On here we identified some medieval pottery, 17th and 18th century slips wares, many pieces of clay pipe, some of which were decorated, and many sherds of victorian or later ceramics. Some of the more interesting objects were recorded to be added to the Portable Antiquities Scheme database by Peter and myself, but everybody who bought something in was given details on all the objects they brought in, whether we recorded them or not.
This was a great day, and demonstrated how easy some community archaeology projects can be. We didn’t need any specialist equipment and all we needed was someone who had an idea about finds – Peter was perfect for this. I would certainly think about running similar projects abd would recommend the approach to local archaeology and history groups nationwide. I learnt a lot and hopefully so did everyboday else, a fantastic day all around.