A wealth of finds coming to light (Milton, week 3)

A collection of coins © Copyright ARS Ltd 2023
A Roman brooch used for fastening clothing © Copyright ARS Ltd 2023
Recording the dog skeleton © Copyright ARS Ltd 2023

It’s week 3 from Milton and as the weather does its best to muddy proceedings, we want to take this opportunity to look at some of the amazing finds we’ve recovered so far.

Last week we conducted a metal detecting survey across the site but many of our finds have also been discovered through hand excavation, or were collected from the surface during stripping. Finds have largely been concentrated within ditches that we believe were associated with a possible Roman farmstead, villa or possibly even and estate centre.

The coins in the photos range from the 2nd–4th centuries AD and most require some careful conservation before they can be appropriately identified. The coins are all very abraded, which is down to the overall level of metal preservation in the local soils being pretty poor. We have, however, also recovered a Roman fibulae (brooch) which is a common find of personal adornment used for fastening clothing. Although caked in mud and lacking its pin, much of the brooch form survives making it a delightful find in itself!

We do also have what appears to be a metal artefact from the late Iron Age/Roman period, which could possibly have been part of a clasp to fasten clothing or equipment. Buckles and clasps have been used for centuries to secure items such as belts, straps, and harnesses. The “cross” shape of the piece could be a design feature or a functional element of the buckle. Some buckles have a rectangular or square shape with a raised centre, while others have a more elaborate design with interconnecting elements.

An abraded coin © Copyright ARS Ltd 2023
Possible late Iron Age clasp © Copyright ARS Ltd 2023

Pottery finds are now beginning to provide spot dates for parts of the site. As mentioned in last week’s update, our current thinking is that some of the ditches were of Iron Age origin and were then reused or repurposed during the Roman period. However, the majority of finds post-date the Roman conquest and provide a date that is terminus post quem, or the earliest date that backfill of the individual feature may have happened when the item was in existence. Features tend to be dated by their abandonment, and so it is fair to expect that many enclosures were established maybe even 30-50 years before their disuse. However, soils subsequently settle and later activity may occasionally level up small depressions with intrusive material that can be of significantly later date.

There has also been a fair amount of modern agricultural activity on this site, which has swept away the top of the archaeological features. We proceed with an open mind and await further insights!

We look forward to bringing you more next week. In the meantime, don’t forget to follow us on: TwitterFacebookLinkedInInstagram.

Previous update (week 2)

Next update (week 4)

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Bagged finds © Copyright ARS Ltd 2023
A piece of Roman glass © Copyright ARS Ltd 2023
The team hard at work © Copyright ARS Ltd 2023
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