Stamford amateur archaeology

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Thread Topic: Stamford amateur archaeology
Topic Originator: Tom Fitchett
Post Date September 5, 2014 @ 4:07 PM
 Stamford amateur archaeology
  Stamford amateur archaeology

Tom Fitchett
September 5, 2014 @ 4:07 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

The early 1960s were a good time for amateur archaeology in Stamford.  The Royal Commisssion on Historical monuments had just published its survey of the river gravels of England which included large tracts of the river Welland basin and Nottingham University was keen to research this project and welcomed amateur input.  The three local musketeers of that period, the writer, the late Dick Grimwood and Wally Stephenson spent many happy hours out walking the fields and digging around Tallington and Maxey where there were a number of interesting prehistoric features.
            In Stamford our most important works were the East Street Pottery Kiln/ back of Grammar school/, an early mediaeval foundry off High St, and a mediaeval well in St Martins/the old maltings  The work was always under the supervision of University staff.
           In the 12/13th century Stamford was the Stoke-on-Trent of pottery making in this country the local clay being very suitable and was easily distinguishable by its green glaze.  The East Street kiln turned up a large amount of sherds many of which were put together and reconstructed by the Stamford Survey Group at the WEA Centre in Broad St and some are exhibited in Lincoln museum [The Collection]
           The foundry site was a little inconclusive, nothing major being discovered but it may have been the forerunner to the later famous bell foundry nearby.
           The Well site was a personal triumph for the writer as I uncovered a clay lamp complete, which we thought at the time to be Roman but was later dated as Saxon about 900 AD. I can still remember the thrill of emerging up the ladder to show my compatriots the object which had lain there undisturbed for 1000 years.  This object is in Lincoln museum.
            There were, of course, other devotees than we three and it would be nice to hear of their experiences.
             In the Late 60s a professional archaeologist was appointed for Stamford who had sufficient funds to employ diggers and the amateur scene faded out.
Kate:  Hello Tom.  Thanks for that interesting post.  Do you have a photograph of the clay lamp? If so,   I could add it at the foot of this posting?  I am sure your info will be of interest to followers of the forum.  Thanks again.

Janet Gibbons (nee Farman)
May 25, 2015 @ 7:02 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

I also went out at weekends with Dick Grimwood and Walter Stephenson, doing the amateur digging. I was one of the team who turned up every Sunday for weeks to excavate the well on the Bus Station , much to the amusement of the passengers! Another dig I helped on was the pottery kiln on Wharf Road. We thought we'd found skulls, until we realised it was heaps of pots. Peter Gibbons also helped out and we took on the task of piecing together pottery shards to try and put back together a whole pot. And we did!!! There used to be a green glazed medieval pot in the Library Museum, lovingly re-assembled by us!