Written by Jake, The Northern One.
On the 24th July 2013 at the Basing House Project a slipware tankard was unveiled in the far left corner of the excavation site. At first it was believed to be a c. 17th century contemporary piece, but after careful analysis by experienced Basing House staff, Dave Allen and Alan Turton came to the conclusion that the tankard was in fact a modern replica. Fire damage on the sherds led Jude Jones, our finds specialist to initially conclude that this was an original item; however the more plausible explanation was that this was an item specifically replicated for use by the Sealed Knot Civil War Re-enactment Society. It has been proposed that the fire damage was caused by the item having been thrown on a bonfire once it had served its purpose. It was also later discovered that the tankard was in fact made by a member of the Sealed Knot Society, a potter known as Spike. We discovered this interesting fact by Alan Turton knowing the seal which was stamped on the bottom of the object.
There was also another interesting find today, a clay smoking pipe was discovered in the trench and this shows an interesting change in archaeology between the 60s and present day. The clay pipe shows us the growing interest in social archaeology as it was thrown in the spoil heap during the 60s but today is a very useful find as it helps us understand the social changes that happened as the use of tobacco grew. This can be seen because as the use of tobacco grew more common the hole in the smoking pipe grew smaller as working people wanted to use less tobacco in their pipes otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to afford it. The clay pipe then shows the change in archaeological practice since the past excavation on the site and the growing interest in social archaeology that has developed since the 1960s excavation.
We also had the public visit an education centre which students set up and ran themselves. In the education centre they had set up a classic Tudor game called “The Kings Game”. They also had shield making, and artefacts such as skulls and miscellaneous Tudor items in their tent. The public reception to the activities was that it was a brilliant idea and much better way of engaging children in the past and also teaching them about it at the same time than just talking at them as is the usual practice in schools. We had many positive comments about the activities and they said that it was a very good idea. They also said that they had heard about the activities day in the Hampshire Now Magazine.