CSI: Sittingbourne has been set up to help conserve some of the 2500 archaeological objects recovered from 229 graves of an Anglo-Saxon cemetery site found locally. The site, known locally as The Meads, was discovered and excavated in late 2008 by Canterbury Archaeological Trust before development of the site. It was an unexpected discovery as the area had once been brickfields meaning much of the earth had been removed. This meant that a number of the graves were very shallow, and some objects had been damaged.
Where does CSI come into it?
CSI: Sittingbourne is an almost unique community project in that it is the one of the first times that public volunteers have been used to conserve archaeological objects. It is also the first time the public has been allowed to see the conservation process in such a public domain, making this truly interesting.
CSI (standing for Conservation Science Investigation OR Community Sustainability Issues) was the idea of local resident and professional conservator Dana Goodburn-Brown who, in partnership with Sittingbourne Heritage Museum (SHM) and Canterbury Archaeological Trust (CAT), has been able to set up this public lab.
The project aims to not only conserve the artefacts, but to also involve the community and raise the interest of their important and often forgotten history. The discovery of this site and the subsequent CSI: project is an exciting and valuable commodity for Sittingbourne and the area of Swale and will hopefully attract more visitors to the area.
The project also aims to promote the conservation profession. The profession is often hidden and some may say forgotton, but the fact CSI: is so public ensures that people know what we do and how important the profession is to our understanding of so many things. Hopefully this project, by being so public, will signal the start of similar projects in the future as well.
The help of local businesses and donations of equipment from museums and collections has been immense and we would like to thank everyone involved so far, especially all those that have volunteered their time.
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