We've had a busy week in the lab with two new staff joining but also with a sudden run of finds which is making us re-think just how much jewellery we might find. As if that was not enough we also found a millipede about 5cm down inside the hoard, curled up on one of the coins.

The fact that he was so far down inside the hoard and was firmly connected to the coin makes us certain that he dates back from the time of the hoard's burial.  This is not the first time we've found large pieces of vegetable or animal tissue but it's the first time we've seen a whole recognizable animal.  He was quickly named Arthur Pod and is now a star exhibit in our lab display.  Viki is spending her spare time reading up on millipedes now and hopefully we will soon know more about him.  One thing that is possible is that he was in a bag with one or more torques.  All around the torques we find what we think are curled up wool fibres, preserved by the copper from the coins.  We think these are from felt that was used either to wrap the gold in or was used as a bag in which Arthur was an unwitting hitch hiker

Other new faces in the lab this week are Ed and Heather who are working with us for six months and are already making a big difference to our rate of work.  This will be boosted again next week when we start our volunteer programme and we get help from another ten people. 

I had an interesting time the week before last when I attended a conference in Bath about their recently found Roman hoard and the research that was done on it.  It was great to have the chance to meet people there who had worked on most of the major hoard excavations of recent years and to find out what sort of new research and tests were being done on material from them.  Everyone was very friendly and hopefully it will have raised our own profile within this community.  One thing that it brought home to me was how diverse a group of objects is covered by the very word hoard.  After some debate it appears to have been agreed that a hoard is any group of three or more more coins deliberately bound together.  Having been used to working on a hoard we can't move without a lorry this required a certain amount recalibrating my mind!

While I was away our team was not idle and soon found a beautiful gold ring, very small but made of four separate loops of gold. On my return we then found what appears to be a large "puddle" ingot of an as yet unknown metal and then another of the beautiful "muff" torques with the double ring ornament at the throat.  The interesting this about these finds is that they are spread out all the way from the first finds to the gold bracelet or anklet at the hoard's pointy end.  Basically wherever we've excavated  on this half of the hoard we've found jewellery where as until recently we thought it was concentrated in a couple of specific "bag" areas.


That's about it for now so I'll sign off for now and update things again soon.