100 objects 3: “Small finds” from the garden at South Hill House

“Small finds” is a term used by archaeologists to describe small objects found on excavations. These are often fragments of items which have been discarded or lost such as personal or domestics items. These became mixed with with other compostable waste or night soil from the privy which in time would have been used to fertilise fields and gardens. Almost every gardener in Parracombe will find something from the past when digging or weeding.

These fragments were found by Dave Austin who says that they are mostly slip ware and blue & white pottery, pieces of coloured glass from the back garden, including a few small sections of clay pipe and a ceramic sphere. Ceramic marbles or taws were used in carbonated drinks bottles to help keep in the fizz. The section of pot (top left) was recovered from the river Heddon. From the photograph the fragments seem to be mainly 19th century with the blue and white pattern added by a technique known as transfer printing. The brown and green may have been made in North Devon but close inspection is needed.

The objects are in private hands.

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