So here at Finds and Features life’s been pretty hectic. Not only do I have a bunch of deadlines, but I’ve just moved house! On the up side, I now have a large room in a lovely flat with lovely people, and even some shelves of my own. On the down side, all my photocopies are now in seemingly random boxes and I’ve no idea where half my stuff is.
However today has been particularly exciting as I’ve suddenly got two more projects in the pipeline. Unfortunately it looks like both will have to wait until May before I can actually give them the time they deserve, but that’ll come round soon enough I suspect!
For the first project I’ve received a small but perfectly formed package of smelting debris from a site associated with the Hüttenberger Erzberg in Kärnten, Austria. That’s where the famous Roman ferrum Noricum steel/iron is thought to have been produced. From what I understand the site is a smaller satellite furnace and slag heap situated very close to the mines, Roman in period and probably in use from the first century BC through to the fourth century AD.
The material I have was collected as part of a brief sample scrape of the slag heap. However due to the skill of the excavator I’ve got slags of varying type, ore samples, furnace lining, and even fragments of iron bloom. That was a real surprise! It’s pretty rare to get bloom pieces, as that’s what the smelters were interested in producing, after all. But I’ve got a bit of everything! An analysts dream!
This of course is great, as it actually syncs with my PhD topic and will be great comparative data. However the other project I’m hoping to take on is looking at some more Roman brooches (I know, my pet subject!). I’m particularly interested in a wasp brooch, which has weird metal bits seemingly embedded in it, and a slightly creepy looking fly with massive weird eyes that looks both copper alloy and silver. Oh, and there’s also the potential of looking at a votive deposit which includes a religious headdress, votive leaves, and what look like possible mini eagle standard-things! I’ll post pictures as soon as I get the go-ahead.
In other news, tomorrow I’m off to the 2010 Roman Archaeology Conference/Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference (RAC/TRAC) in Oxford. Really looking forwards to see what’s going on in Roman archaeology at the moment. It’s rather easy to feel a bit isolated at my university, what with there being more Mayan archaeologists than there are Romanists and Anglo-Saxon scholars combined!
Although I’m only attending Friday I’ll post my thoughts online when I get a chance – though that may not be until Monday as I’m helping out and note-taking at a European Early Iron Workshop on Saturday and Sunday. If I don’t pass-out with exhaustion somewhere along the line!