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Dr Claire Rainsford and DAG chairman David Croot grapple with bones!

This is the first of two items on excavations this week. We have written before (most recently 18 June this year) about the activities of DAG (Deverills Archaeology Group) which welcomes a small group of Salisbury Museum Volunteers to its talks and on its excavations.

Last week, Dr David Roberts (see ‘Excavations’ below) was ‘in town’ and led talks and discussion summarising the work of DAG over the last 18 months: six geo surveys, three evening talks, two excavations, funding wins, public engagement (including visits from Brownies and Young Archaeologists) and, most important of all, significant gains in knowledge and understanding of the history of the Deverills valley.

David Croot, Chairman, introduced the speakers and made particular mention of the organisations that had made the project possible financially: the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Warminster Area Board and the village hall.

The speakers, including David Roberts, made for a pretty high-powered bunch. Also present, and involved with continuing research and interpretation in the valley, were Mike Allen (environmental archaeologist), Dr Claire Rainsford (the animal bone lady!) and Dr Jorn Schuster (small finds expert).

Amongst other things we learned that the Romans enjoyed beef but in later periods lamb had become the favourite. We were also told that fish bones tend not to appear in excavation because people ate them, they dissolved in the gut, and so were not passed on, as it were (at least, I think that is what they said!). It may also be that not a lot of fish was eaten (although fresh water fish would have been available -and required on Fridays) and that fish bones are pretty small anyway…

We are grateful to the DAG blog for some of the detail here. You might like to go to their website and sign up for their blog, to keep track of events.