Anglo-Saxon monks and pots: investigating monastic culture in Anglo-Saxon Kent

Investigating the use, deposition and significance of a distinctive assemblage of decorated ceramic vessels generated by recent excavations at Lyminge, Kent.

Department: Archaeology, Human and Environmental Sciences

Supervised by: Dr Gabor Thomas

The Placement Project

The placement is attached to the final season of a three-year campaign of excavations led by the Department of Archaeology at the Anglo-Saxon monastery of Lyminge, Kent. It will involve analysing the most important assemblage of ‘boss-decorated’ pottery yet discovered from Anglo-Saxon England, otherwise restricted to a select group of monastic settlements in east Kent. The analysis will proceed through the following six stages, working on freshly excavated material integrated with pottery generated over the past two seasons: 1) compilation of a database recording aspects of form and decoration alongside wear patterns, 3-D location and evidence for cross-fitting sherds; 2) integration of find-context information (the nature of the deposit and its stratigraphic position) followed by analysis of spatial and temporal distribution using GIS software; 4) where possible, reconstruction of complete vessel/s to inform an understanding of their function and visual impact; 5) undertake comparative study of published assemblages; and 6) submission of a pottery report detailing the methodology and results of the analysis with a concluding discussion designed to place the Lyminge assemblage in its archaeological, cultural and historical context.


The placement will progress through a staged programme of analysis and research. 1)Visual scan and quantification of assemblage: gain familiarisation with material, note salient characteristics, 5% 2)Design of database and data-entry 20% 3)Integration of find-context information, extract relevant information from site plans, sections and context sheets, 10% 4)Import spatial data into GIS and analyse site distributions using queries, 20% 5)Attempt vessel reconstruction, 20% 6)Undertake comparative analysis of published assemblages, 10% 7)Write report and synthetic discussion, 15% (In collaboration with PI)

Skills, knowledge and experience required

Essential Previous excavation experience Previous experience working with artefacts Knowledge of spreadsheets and databases Desirable Knowledge of GIS packages Experience of post-excavation analysis

Skills which will be developed during the placement

There is a recognised shortage of medieval finds specialists – especially ceramic specialists - working within the archaeological profession. This placement addresses this gap by providing a structured route through the various stages of post-excavation work as typically applying to the analysis of medieval ceramics. Each stage is linked to a particular skill or skills-set, the acquisition of which will provide a platform for the chosen candidate to develop a career in the field of medieval finds research or related disciplines: 1)primary sorting and analysis of artefactual data 2)the integration of site context information and the manipulation of site records – plans, sections, photographs and pro forma context sheets 3)the design and implementation of data-recording systems using appropriate software (Excel; Access) 4)interrogation of spatial data using appropriate GIS software (ArcView) 5)Experience in reconstructing artefacts drawing upon principles and techniques of archaeological conservation 6)Contextualising results using other published data 7)Linking analysis to wider research themes and questions The successful completion of the placement will be recognised in named authorship in any publications to emerge from the research.

Place of Work

Lyminge, Kent

Hours of Work


Approximate Start and End Dates (not fixed)

Monday 07 June 2010 - Unknown

How to Apply

Applicants should send in a CV and covering letter. The interview will include a simple exercise designed to test the candidate’s knowledge of artefacts and site context information.

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