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2019 dig at the Whitehall Farm Anglo-Saxon Cemetery

Report by Steve Young, CLASP Archaeology Director

The 2019 fieldwork on the site of the Post Roman and Anglo Saxon burial ground at Whitehall Farm revealed the location of twelve new graves of which nine were excavated.

This brings the total number of known complete inhumations to twenty-eight with extraneous fragmentary skeletons implying the burial ground population included at least thirty five individuals.

Most of the burials explored formed part of a linear row of graves aligned roughly on a north/south axis. This is consistent with previous excavated evidence indicating that the 5th century AD  interments were laid out according to a structured grid alignment similar to those recorded at Cannington, Somerset and Lankhills, Winchester.

Our current understanding of the grave locations is indicative of four or five linear rows containing between eight and ten inhumations per line suggesting the presence of a sizeable community within the locality and the probability that many more graves remain to be identified.

The position of the individual graves also appear to be evenly spaced along the row, respecting the overall pattern of the graveyard. Six of the inhumations associated with the row have a west/east alignment with their heads positioned at the west end of the grave and all of the skeletons being interred without grave goods.

One grave contained a young woman complete with perinatal foetus who had probably died in child birth; another contained a child, whilst yet another held the first instance of a deviant burial from the 5th century AD graveyard. Laid into the grave face down the skeleton was also minus its feet which may have been cut off prior to death. Two other skeletons of the same date were excavated with the position of their graves implying that they were lying in neighbouring rows of graves. One of these individuals was buried with a personal iron knife placed at the hip whilst the other was interred with a range of grave goods, suggesting a person of status. The grave goods include a spear, shield boss and a copper alloy strap end with associated belt clasps located on the hip and shoulder.

A further burial aligned north/south associated with late 6th to early 7th century interments was also excavated. This skeleton was male and had been buried with a spear and shield boss as had been recorded in the other burials of this date. It also demonstrated that potentially bodies from this period of interment can be found further to the north in the burial distribution than previously expected.

Could you be CLASP’s new Webmaster?

I’m looking to reduce my commitments by handing over the role of CLASP Webmaster to a willing and able volunteer.

The role involves managing CLASP’s online assets which are:

– the website, domain names and hosting (all in one account);
– the claspweb Yahoo mailing groups;
– the CLASP Google Drive account;
– the CLASP Vimeo account.

I also keep an eye on the CLASP Facebook page: Gina Brown runs that, but occasionally she welcomes support.

The website is a WordPress site: it’s a relatively straightforward one, but a reasonable knowledge and experience of WordPress is needed to edit it. The Whitehall and Local People websites are native html sites (produced in Dreamweaver) stored on the same server as the main website: they are essentially archives, and should not need editing.

All the accounts are owned by CLASP – at the moment Dave Hayward (as Chair) is the named owner, and he takes care of all payments, so that is not required of the webmaster.

I will be happy to be an advisory backstop for as long as necessary for the new webmaster to feel confident to carry on alone – but I am not willing to give training in any aspect of the technical management, for example, WordPress.

Interested? Please email me at if you’d like to explore this.

Jeremy Cooper

Successful days at Borough Hill

Comments from the CLASP Facebook group:

  • Great afternoon on Borough Hill. 50+ people braved the weather to learn about local history. Fun, informative, spreading the message.
  • Thank you so much for the opportunity to see the work that has been done on Borough Hill. My children and I were fascinated, a really lovely opportunity to see the past alive on our doorstep.

Waitrose Daventry collection for CLASP in September

Waitrose have agreed to have a community collection for CLASP at their Daventry store during September – please put the green tokens in!

Thanks to Chris Mawby for this initiative.

The MOLA/CLASP Borough Hill Project – website launched!

A message from Dave Hayward, Chair of CLASP Trustees:

“As many of you are already aware CLASP has been participating with MOLA in a joint project researching the archaeological history of the enigmatic Borough Hill, Daventry. The first phase of this work, documentary research, geophysical survey and drone flyovers is now complete with interpretation being finalised. To ensure that these results are put into the wider public domain MOLA has prepared a superb interactive website that has been launched this week.

The website address is:-

For the future this work will continue, hopefully moving into excavations during the next couple of years. CLASP members will of course be able to participate in the future phases of this joint project.

PRESS RELEASE: MOLA/CLASP – Borough Hill Guided Walks

Joint Press Release (please note amended timings)

Mosaics 2019


Click here for the gallery of the 74 mosaics made by visitors to the CLASP stand at the Milton Keynes Festival of History in June 2019.

Borough Hill Open Days – volunteers needed

CLASP has been involved in a joint project with MOLA researching the hill-fort on Borough Hill, Daventry, which is assessed as being the second largest hill-fort in the country.

CLASP has now agreed with MOLA that for the Council of British Archaeology (CBA) National Archaeology Week 2019, we will jointly provide a series of guided walks over at least part of the site, starting at the Daventry Golf Club at the northern end.

These  walks will take place on the afternoons of Thursday 25th and Sunday 28th July. We now need volunteers from the CLASP membership to assist with the events to act as both guides and generally assisting on the day. You will be fully briefed as to latest details about the hill-fort etc., hopefully with a walk round to brief volunteers before the event begins.

If you can volunteer to assist please email me on:-

Thanks in advance!

Dave Hayward

CLASP Taster Course report

CLASP ran its two 2-day Archaeology Taster courses on 4th to 7th July 2019. Twenty-three attended plus five CLASP presenters supported by five other Members.

The first day of each course was mainly in the CLASP Field Centre covering Best Practices , Field-walking, Planning, Context, Geophysics and Surveying. On the second day participants chose between practical training on Geophysics or Surveying.

Feedback on the days was very positive. CLASP gained many new Members. Participants had very diverse skills and can utilise these to be active in CLASP in many diverse ways.

See the CLASPWEB Facebook group for some photos and feedback.

NAS Newsletter

The latest newsletter from the Northampton Archaeological Society Newsletter:

NAS NEWS May 2019

CLASP receives sponsorship from:

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