Merry Digmas! Season’s Greetings from Archaeology in the City.

Well everyone, it’s suddenly December! Please remember there are no Archaeology and Ale talks this month, but to make up for it, there are 2 in January.

If you’ve (like me!) not finished (or started!) your Christmas shopping yet, here are some gift options for the archaeologist in your life.

And also, please remember:

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Tinsley Project Blog #1: About Tinsley

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Ashley Magana

This blog post from one of our Archaeology in the City volunteers, Ashley Magana.

Ashley has written about her experience on the Tinsley project, having spent four months helping with the project during her time at the University of Sheffield.

Historical Background

St. Lawrence Church has 800 years of history. Tinsley was even mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1086; however, it was known by its Anglo-Saxon name, Tirneslawe (St. Lawrence Tinsley 2001, 2). Its entry in the Doomsday Book of 1086 reads as follows (St. Lawrence Tinsley 2001, 2): “Three manors. In Tirneslawe, Ulchel, Agemund, and Archil, had five carucates of land to be taxed where there may be four ploughs. Roger now has there one villein and threesocmen, with one plough, and one and eight quarentens broad. Worth 4 [pounds]”.

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Tinsley

King Stephen, grandson of William the Conqueror, had seized Tinsley and ended up passing it onto a man called Mairolls, also known as the De Londons, the early Lords of Tinsley, who founded the Norman Chapel of Saint Lawrence in the 12th Century (St. Lawrence Tinsley 2001, 3). Tinsley was later passed onto Roger le Bret and then onto the Wentworths (St. Lawrence Tinsley 2001, 3).

The churchyard’s oldest grave dates to 1711 and is situated just East of the South porch of the church (St. Lawrence Tinsley 2001, 25); however, there may be graves that date back to the Norman Conquest, but has to be uncovered. It should also be noted that apparently there is a crypt underneath the church that no one knows who is in it, or the date of it.

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The churchyard was extended and had doubled than its previous area in 1915 (St. Lawrence Tinsley 2001, 25). According to the Vicar, there are “approximately” 2,2000 full size graves (not including the plots cremated remains). However, when the surveying took place, it was discovered that some graves that were not on the graveyard’s plan.

The parish records are held in two forms. The first is record book that dates from 1711, and has record on baptisms, marriages, and burials. The second are index card boxes that date from 1784, and has records on baptisms and burials, but not marriages—marriages were to be recorded separately from 1754 (St. Lawrence Tinsley 2001, 26).

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Tinsley graveyard plan

About the Project

There were two aims for this project. The first aim was to create a digitised system that contained the graveyard records and information from the churchyard plan, record books, and index card’s records. The second aim was to create a recording sheet for the gravestones and then digitise that information. The objective was to create an information system that could easily be accessed by church members, the community, or those who may want to conduct research either for professional or genealogy purposes.

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Taking measurements at Tinsley

It should be noted that the records were not easily accessible because of the frailty of the materials and a somewhat tedious request had to be made. Those involved in the project, including myself, and under the direction of Sally Rodgers, had to transfer the information on the index card boxes to an excel document. Once that was completed, we then surveyed the graveyard and recorded the condition and inscriptions of the gravestones. As of today, all information collected has been digistised and will soon be available for public use online.

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I worked on the Tinsley graveyard project for about four months, and within that time I learned about the importance of preservation for community “landmarks” and how these types of projects contribute to genealogy research. I also gained skills that I could use for future preservation projects, more so if I decide to undertake a project of my own. When I partook in the occasional coffee/tea time, stories were often shared, which made it evident that this project would help to preserve their histories (to an extent) for years to come.

I felt very fortunate to be part of this project and it was pleasure getting to know those from the St. Lawrence Church.

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3 days til #HeritageFest16 #free Woodland Heritage #Festival in #Sheffield! 3 days to go

Only 3 days to go until the 2016 Woodland Heritage Festival – a free family archaeology and heritage festival organised by Archaeology in the City, from the University of Sheffield Department of Archaeology, and held at the JG Graves Woodland Discovery Centre in Ecclesall Woods.

Here’s a flashback to the free talks that were on offer last year.

Today, it’s Zooarchaeology with Ged – you can visit the Festival this Monday 30th and handle some real zooarchaeological reference materials but for now, get the skinny on what archaeologists can learn from an animal’s skeleton, with last year’s podcast, hosted on the Archaeology Podcast Network.

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The Archaeology and Ale Podcast

This year we will have two English history talks, but also all of the fun hands-on archaeology activities that we had last year – osteology, ceramics, zooarchaeology, iron smelting, copper-working, plus some extra family-friendly bone (soap) carving and cave (paper) painting stations and a landscape archaeology scavenger hunt.

#HeritageFest16 4 days to #free Woodland Heritage #festival in #Sheffield!

Only 4 days to go until the 2016 Woodland Heritage Festival – a free family archaeology and heritage festival organised by Archaeology in the City, from the University of Sheffield Department of Archaeology, and held at the JG Graves Woodland Discovery Centre in Ecclesall Woods.

Here’s a flashback to the free talks that were on offer last year.

Today, it’s Virtual Archaeology with Courtenay – you can visit the Festival this Monday 30th and handle some real artefacts (and make some of your own!), but for now learn about how archaeologists make digital replicas of real artefacts, and even artefacts which have been destroyed, with last year’s podcast, hosted on the Archaeology Podcast Network.

archinthecity2

The Archaeology and Ale Podcast

This year we will have two English history talks, but also all of the fun hands-on archaeology activities that we had last year – osteology, ceramics, zooarchaeology, iron smelting, copper-working, plus some extra family-friendly bone (soap) carving and cave (paper) painting stations and a landscape archaeology scavenger hunt.

#HeritageFest16- #free Woodland Heritage #festival in #Sheffield

We’ve all been busy beind the scenes preparing for the second Woodland Heritage Festival.

That is on this Bank Holday Monday, May 30th, at the Ecclesall Woods Discovery Centre.

Here are some pictures of all the activities from last year’s festival.

It’s a FREE family-friendly archaeology and heritage festival. We’ll have the same great hands-on practical archaeology activities as last year

  • pottery-making
  • iron smelting
  • copper craft
  • zooarchaeology
  • human osteology
  • experimental Q-pit charcoal-making

Plus we have some new crafty things for kids (and kids-at-heart):

  • “cave” (paper wall) painting
  • “bone” (soap) carving
  • a landscape archaeology scavenger hunt (with prizes!)

AND

  • costumed historic characters – Bess of Hardwick and her friends
  • two talks on history and protest from the English department

As a reminder of all the cool things on offer, I will be re-sharing the podcasts of last year’s archaeology talks in the lead up to Monday 30th May.

See you there!

2016 heritage festival poster

Osteoarchaeology with the Young Archaeologists’ Club

This post is about our volunteer’s activity with the Sheffield Young Archaeologists’ Club at the Department of Archaeology Osteology Lab. Our Archaeology in the City volunteer Kris is also a leader with the Sheffield YAC, and MA Osteoarchaeology student Emma developed and led an osteology activity.

This month Archaeology in the City and the YAC joined forces again to do another archaeology activity. This time we looked at how investigating skeletons can tell us about peoples’ health in the past.

Emma started off giving the club members two (plastic) skeletons – the group had to assemble the skeletons correctly… but to make things more interesting, a few parts been swapped between boxes, or left out completely. This is a real problem faced by archaeologists excavating ancient burials – sometimes bits do go astray.

 

Next, Emma showed us some indicators of health. Your teeth say a lot about you – the Department’s teaching and reference collection includes many examples of dental health: cavities, plaque, abcesses and antemortem tooth loss.

Finally, Emma showed us some examples of trauma – the skeleton of a young man who had been badly injured in an industrial accident in the 17th century, but who lived for several years afterwards, and the skull of a man who had met his end on a medieval battlefield.

The YAC members handled these real skeletons with respect and care, and asked some really good questions.

Emma designed and implemented this activity herself – she’s an MA student at Sheffield, and is planning to apply for her PhD here too, so fingers crossed she can do some more activities with the YAC in the future.