Saxon Lyng Archaeological Project

News from the Lyng Pottery Day

On the 8th of March a group of Lyng residents spent a couple of hours cleaning some of the pottery from the 2011 test pits in the village. We were then joined by John Allen, the leading medieval pottery specialist in the SW, and Laura Burnett of the Portable Antiquities Scheme. John looked at all the cleaned pottery and was pleasantly surprised by the quantity of medieval pottery that was present. There were some 13th and 14th century redwares that had been made in the Donyatt area but even more exciting were some very thin walled ‘saggy bottomed’ pots of 11th or 12th century date. These ‘Saxo-Norman’ wares contained small flecks of chert and flint and were made at the edge of the Blackdown Hills. In one pit (from Highlands) the lowest layers contained some chunkier examples of the same fabric and John was sure that they must be 9th or 10th century in date, certainly before the Norman Conquest. In Somerset people do not appear to have been using pottery earlier than c.850AD so this is as early a date as we could expect to find unless we are lucky enough to find a coin in a pit.

Even more intriguing was the presence of several Late Iron age sherds. These pottery fragments suggest that Lyng may have been occupied over 2,000 years ago at the same time as defences were being created on the nearby Isle of Athelney. A piece of worked flint that had snuck in amongst the pottery was identified by Laura as being mesolithic, which takes us back to over 6,000 years ago. Who knows what the next test pits will reveal! If you would like a test pit in your garden please contact Richard Brunning on 10823 347432