Our Find 2Noster invenire 2
Here we see the BB1 find being marked on the inside of the pot - this is because if it were to be put on public display the less pieces that are seen with markings the better. The numbers are: SS03 26836. They mean that the find was made at SS = South Shields (Arbeia) in 03 = 2003. The other five numbers relate to the context area that the find was made. This number purports to the area of the road near the Commanding Officer’s House and the find itself was made within the plough soil. Once numbered, the find is then bagged up and later stored when that particular bag is full. When the context area of the site has been fully excavated and all finds reach the bagging process the next step can come into play. All finds from a given context area are laid out on a table and sorted into their relevant categories of pot fabric etc. i.e. source of kiln (area of country it came from) and then once again broken down even further into categories of rims, bases, body sherds and handles etc. If a find is interesting enough it will go to the next stage which is the drawing of the find otherwise it will be stored as before. Our find was measured here and the rim percentage was 14% of the total. This figure would give the total size of the pot rim when calculated. The size of the rim would be 26cm had the vessel been complete. The picture at the lower left of the screen shows how a complete vessel of this type may have looked. Note the rim on the vessel and the pattern. The image also gives an impression of how thick the vessel was and its overall scale.
When the decision has been taken to say a find is worth drawing and recording for possible publication it is taken on to the next stage. This is where things could, as if they weren’t already, get very interesting. The find is drawn as you can see on the photographs to the right and this part of the process has to be very precise. Firstly a find is drawn in pencil and when complete it is inked over. Records are checked to see if other finds have come up which are similar and may be part of the same pot etc or whether they may come from the same kiln or same part of the country. If they are matched and can eventually form a full or near full vessel then they may go on display. Publication of the finds can be done when this stage is reached or if the finds are of a special interest.
Our find has come full circle in the story now and although the process outlined over the two pages is one that would be for a find of particular interest we have followed it as though it was such a find. The BB1 that was excavated for this exercise actually would have ended up being stored before reaching the drawing part of the process. However, I was allowed to take it right through.
The final image shows what the shape of the vessel would have looked like and the decoration it would have. The flange is prominent and is a continuous projection from the body or rim of the vessel and may vary widely in form or position and was intended to facilitate handling.
The photographs show the process of the sherd as it goes from being marked with its context and catalogue numbers to its final sorting when a decision is made whether or not to display it.