Anglo-Saxon CSI: Sittingbourne

Will work for free
January 11, 2011, 10:13 pm
Filed under: People

Just a quick post to let you all know about an interesting blog called, ‘Will Work For Free‘.

“I created this in order to share with the world my passion for nonprofits and volunteerism. Here you can find personal anecdotes from my volunteer work, ways that millennials and others can get more involved, and my thoughts on nonprofit current events.

I hope that those who read this blog become inspired, informed, or at least interested when it comes to nonprofit work.”

The site has a lot of interesting stuff about volunteer projects, working with volunteers, information about volunteering, the authors experiences and much more.  It’s well worth having a good look if you have the time.

Calling all young volunteers
January 10, 2011, 7:40 pm
Filed under: news, People

CSI: Sittingbourne has partnered with Vinspired, the local arm of the national youth volunteering scheme, and is offering full and part time volunteer placements for a lab assistant and fund-raiser/market developer.  If we’re able to get help in these areas we should be able to re-open, and keep open, the lab and exhibition for the remainder of the lease meaning we may be able to complete the rest of the site.  As well as these benefits, Vinspired can also backdate and give future certificates and national recognition to all our 16-25 year old volunteers, which helps them with their CVs and job applications in these difficult times.

For more information about opportunities with CSI: Sittingbourne, and other projects, please take the time to visit the Vinspired website.

more pictures
November 4, 2010, 10:15 pm
Filed under: People

Just a few more pictures from before.  I am not David Bailey, so please forgive the quality – at least my finger isn’t over the lens though, hey?

Detail of the end of the sword handle

Strap decoration

Sword fittings

Replica of the great gold buckle from Sutton Hoo


Detail of sword sheath

Also, a link to Steve Pollington’s web page and The English Companions.  These are also in the new ‘Links’ section, along with some other sites that might be of interest.  If anyone finds any more interesting web pages then let me know and I’ll add them.

surprise visit
October 27, 2010, 8:51 pm
Filed under: People
Sorry this post is a bit late in coming!

A few months ago I picked up an incoming link from Da Engliscan Gesiðas (The English Companions) Gegaderung discussion forum and visited it to see why it had linked from there.  Some of the members had found out about CSI: Sittingbourne and were debating what the ‘mystery object’ could be.  I contributed a bit to the discussion and visited back occasionally.  Fast-forward to September 2010 (hark at me!), and we can finally put a couple of faces to the names of members on the site.

So, we’d really like to thank Steve Pollington and King Rædwald for coming all the way from Essex to have a look at the exhibition and lab.  It was great that you came and made the effort, especially the fact that you bought along the replica sword and other objects.  They even bought along the Venerable Bede…

Pattern welded replica sword

Replica of a piece from the Staffordshire Hoard

What our swords might have looked like

Replica of the Sutton Hoo purse

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..The The sword in particular was excellent – it came as a surprise how light it actually was.  Also, the scabbard and decoration was quite nice, and gave us a good idea of what some of our objects might have looked like before they ended up with us.  The replicas from Sutton Hoo were brilliant as well, obviously.

Janet modelling the replica sword

I really hope someone has been in touch with you about working with us at some point.  It was very interesting and I’m sure there are a lot more people that would think the same.

Many thanks again!

October 27, 2010, 8:50 pm
Filed under: People

I think Mario is worthy of his own post on here.  He has shown enthusiasm with his comments elsewhere on this site and has sent us a couple of his articles and letters to the lab all the way from Italy.  It is really appreciated, and it is nice to have a bit of interest from further afield.

a bit of a progress report…
March 6, 2010, 5:22 pm
Filed under: Community, news, People | Tags: , , ,


The volunteers for this project have been of great help and have showed good progress so far.  They have gained in confidence along the way and the results they are producing are brilliant.  This section highlights the background and the type of people that are volunteering, or who have volunteered, in the past months.

Volunteers working on some of the objects (Image copyright Kent Messenger Group)

We have 31 volunteers at the moment and the vast majority of these dedicate at least 4 hours per week – some manage to complete 2 sessions per week.  At least a further 20 have been given training to work on these objects.  Some have left to find employment or return to higher education, whereas other have left for other reasons.  This may be due to a number of reasons – the work being too demanding, or finding the postures demanded of long hours at a microscope a bit too uncomfortable, or just that they felt they weren’t suited to the work.  We still get regular requests from visitors asking to volunteer and more training sessions are planned for the future.

Miscellaneous Volunteer Information…

In order of magnitude, we have a mix of retired women and men, part-time working mums, fully employed people who come on days off, people recently made redundant/in-between jobs, recent university graduates, history students (aged 16-early 20s).

These people came from a range of previous professions – examples of previous work include biology teacher, sales rep, secretaries, historian, a former surgeon & nurse, and council and social workers (the latter discovered his employers give him 3 funded days per year for voluntary work – his time spent goes into a ‘Time Bank’, a wonderful scheme where volunteer skills can be swapped!)

These all amount to much more than ‘willing hands’ – they bring their own (and partners’/friends’) skills and knowledge to all parts of our project.  Some have donated items for the lab and/or coffee room, and have advised on equipment procurement.

HLF/ICON intern Katrina Redman presenting x-rays to a group of school visitors

Conservation student interns from the Sorbonne, Cardiff University, West Dean and UCL have given weeks of their time to the project,  and our Icon/HLF funded intern Katrina Redman has been brilliant at helping run the CSI Lab day to day.

How far have we got?

For the first phase of the project (the partly funded part), we have 62 graves with an average of 6 objects in each (1-30 finds being the actual range).  We seem to have worked on the larger graves first, and have almost completed 30 graves, which equates to about 215 finds.

Of the 215 metal objects so far started, 60 have been completed and 155 started/almost finished.  For the first month working hours were not recorded, but so far 1139 volunteer working hours have been counted for working on 120 objects, the majority of these archaeological iron with mineral preserved organic (MPOs) remains present.  MPOs include bug casings, wood, straw, wool and linen.

There are 32 graves waiting to be started containing 89 objects: beads, flint  and other finds are included in this count.  If funding is secured for the second half of the site there will still be around 100 graves to complete.  Hopefully this will be achieved as the project is valuable on so many levels, both for the local community and the profession.


Special thanks go to Canterbury Archaeological Trust, Sittingbourne Heritage Museum and of course Dana Goodburn-Brown.  Further thanks go to Marston’s Brewery and Kent County Council, Heriatge Lottery Fund, as well as all the organisation, local businesses and volunteers/people who have dedicated their time and resources to the project.