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Community Action

Scoping the Medieval

Today we bring you a guest post by Mark Rosoman. Mark is a Scope employee, responsible for exterior and interior maintenance, which includes taking the guys out to work in the community. Sully Scope are extraordinarily active, being involved with a community allotment scheme in Gibbonsdown and working in conjunction with Tidy Towns (litter picking in towns and on the wonderful Vale beaches). If that isn’t enough they also carry out gardening services to local care homes for the elderly and maintain the Sully Skill Development Centre. Somehow they also found time to come and help us excavate at  Cosmeston, discovering a mysterious curved wall in the process.

All Scope work is carried out on a voluntary basis with the aim of providing skills development of service users whom have varying degrees of disability. You can support them here.

Scope in Medieval Village

I became aware of the archaeological dig at Cosmeston Medieval Village via the Penarth Times where I noted that Professor John Hines was involved. Having been involved with historical re-enactment at Cosmeston in the past and being an acquaintance of Professor Hines, I thought I would contact him with an offer to assist at the dig with some of the service users (the guys) in my charge from Scope in Sully (a learning centre for disabled adults). Before I contacted Professor Hines, I ran the idea past the Scope centre Manager Rhian Thomas, who thought it a wonderful idea. I then asked the guys themselves who agreed it sounded very interesting, although not all realised the importance of the historicalness of the dig.

Tuesday 12th 2011
We arrived in a 5 strong team and were chaperoned throughout by Dr Paula Jones. Paula provided instruction prior to our commencement of mattocking in a pre-prepared plot of approximately 2m sq where the turf had been removed for the guys (see photo 1). It was not long before we struck stone about 100mm from the surface (see photo 2).

Sully Scope at work

Sully Scope at work. The team start work (photo 1, top left) striking a stone wall (photo 2, top right) and discussing the latest find with Dr Paula Jones (bottom, photo 3). Photos courtesy of Mark Rosoman / timegrabber.co.uk

The soil was then removed carefully using small pointing trowels which exposed more stonework that appeared to be circular in formation (see photo 4). This find was very encouraging and the guys maintained their focus throughout eagerly passing found items to Paula as they appeared (see photo 3). It should be said that often the items were small pieces of stone however collectively the guys discovered fragmented stems of clay smoking pipes, pieces of coal and seashells. These finds were kept in a plastic tray for identification later by Alice F (see photo 5)

Sully Scope discovering a curved wall (left, photo 4) and identifying medieval finds with finds co-ordinator Alice (right, photo 5).

Sully Scope discovering a curved wall (left, photo 4) and identifying medieval finds with finds co-ordinator Alice (right, photo 5). Photos courtesy of Mark Rosoman / timegrabber.co.uk

Thursday 14th 2011
Four of us returned to Cosmeston Village today to resume the Archaeological dig. We were again chaperoned and guided by Paula. We continued to clear soil away from the stonework that we had previously exposed on Tuesday. Paula assured us that we were making good progress with clearing the soil with our hand trowels. We were not as fortunate as the day before regarding finds however we did retrieve a small round clay ball which was possibly from a drinks bottle of more recent times. The clay ball was approximately 10mm in diameter.

We very much hope to dig at Cosmeston again in the very near future!

All images images in this blog were kindly provided by (and remain copyright of) Mark Rosoman. Check out more of his photos of Glamorganshire at Timegrabber or on Flickr.

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About Cosmeston Archaeology

Cardiff University School of History, Archaeology and Religion is working with the Vale of Glamorgan Council on an exciting project to increase community awareness and access to learning about Cosmeston Medieval Village and the surrounding area. Initially discovered in 1979 by local archaeology company GGAT, University excavations since 2007, involving students and the local community, have advanced our understanding of this complex medieval settlement. With excavations now entering their fifth year this blog will provide you the inside track with the exciting discoveries and finds as they come out of the ground.

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Day of Archaeology 2011

Cosmeston contributed to Day of Archaeology 2011. Click through to see our posts!

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