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Archaeological Finds
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F.05: this contained two sherds of 16th to 19th century plain red coarseware (13g).


F.51: a mixed context. This contained three sherds of 18th century Chinese export porcelain (5g), a sherd of late 18th or early 19th century creamware (3g), a sherd of 16th to 18th century tin-glazed earthenware (6g), a sherd of 18th or 19th century lead-glazed earthenware (2g), a sherd of 18th century Staffordshire-type slipware (11g) and two sherds of 16th to 17th century German stoneware (107g).


F.24: this contained a single sherd of abraded grey coarseware (5g), which is most probably Roman in date.


F.32: a 17th or early 18th century context. This contained two sherds of tin-glazed earthenware (9g), a sherd of Babylon-type lead-glazed earthenware (42g), two sherds of German stoneware (46g), a sherd of glazed red earthenware (30g) and a sherd of Westerwald stoneware (14g).


F.33: a 16th or 17th century context. This contained three fragments of green-glazed fineware, one of which represents a small but substantially complete two handled jug of unusual design (86g – not manufactured at Ely) and another a rim fragment of pierced fretwork form (8g). Also present were 18 sherds of Frechen stoneware, weighing 1102g and representing a minimum of three vessels, plus a single sherd of Seigburg stoneware (41g) and four sherds of Babylon-type lead-glazed earthenware (61g), one of which bears embossed decoration in the form of a face. Finally, two sherds of plain red coarseware (51g), and two residual sherds of 13th to 15th century grey coarseware (40g) were also recovered.

Clay Pipe

<006> 2 type 5 bowls c.1640-60. plus one fragment no earlier than c.1660-80 (plus 2 heel/spurs) MNI 4

Worked Bone

A single worked bone artefact was recovered from a stratified context at the site. This consisted of a fragmentary worked bone strip, with applied ring-dot decoration, which is most probably Medieval or early post-Medieval in date (017).

In addition to the strip, a number of unstratified fragments derived from a worked bone needle case were also recovered from Trench 1 <121>.

Worked Stone

A single worked stone fragment was recovered from a stratified context (016). This consisted of a fine-grained bluish grey vesicular quernstone fragment that is identifiable as Niedermendig Műlstein lava (also known as Rhenish or Mayen lava) from the Eifel region in Germany (Kars 1983). Although such querns were frequently used during the Roman period, and are common finds on Middle and Late Saxon sites, they are much rarer in the Medieval period as their use was controlled following the Norman Conquest and many people were instead compelled to use centrally regulated mills (Watts 2002, 38-42). Therefore, although it occurred residually in a later context, this example is likely to be pre-12th century in origin.

In addition, an unstratified whetstone fragment was also recovered from Trench 1 <122>.

Ceramic Building Materials

A total of four glazed floor tile fragments were recovered from stratified
contexts at the site. All four are late Medieval/early post-Medieval in date,
and are composed of a similar coarse red earthenware fabric. They comprise 015, 015, and 016.

No significant fragments were recovered from unstratified contexts.

Moulded Stone

In total, 76 fragments of moulded stone were recovered during the recent investigations conducted at Jesus College. Following initial analysis, however, 38 undiagnostic/repetitive fragments were discarded. This material was derived from five separate contexts at the site.

The first of these contexts, F.42, comprised a layer of demolition debris that was utilised as make-up material in c. 1500. The second, F.10, consisted of external cladding that was applied to the outer wall of the east range during the same period. The third – F.07, F.18 and F.19 – comprised a series of external layers that incorporated material derived from the partial demolition of the chapterhouse at the end of the 15th century, but which had later been extensively disturbed. The fourth context consisted of material that was utilised to block-up a doorway situated in the north wall of the chapel (again, most probably during the conversion of the buildings for collegiate use). Finally, the fifth context comprised a stack of redeposited fragments that had been walled-up inside a fireplace in the area of the former chapterhouse. In general, the material consisted of dressed ashlar, and both clunch and Barnack blocks were present. A number of moulded fragments were also identified, however, and the most significant examples are included.

Moulded Stone

F.10: an ‘elongated’ semi-circular shaft fragment, designed to be bonded into a wall.

Moulded Stone

F.42: a vault shaft; derived from the section at the back of the shaft, just above the corbel.

Animal Bone

The animal bone assemblage totalled 673 assessable specimens (8901g), of which 315 were identified to species. The material was recovered from cut features; other closed contexts – layers and spreads from Trench 1 and 2. It displayed a good level of preservation, with minimal or no surface erosion and weathering. Based on the provenance and the chronology of the material, several sub-sets were created in order to study the assemblage.

The zooarchaeological investigation followed the system implemented by Bournemouth University with all identifiable elements recorded (NISP: Number of Identifiable Specimens) and diagnostic zoning (amended from Dobney & Reilly 1988) used to calculate MNE (Minimum Number of Elements) from which MNI (Minimum Number of Individuals) was derived. Identification of the assemblage was undertaken with the aid of Schmid (1972), Hillson (1999) and reference material from the Cambridge Archaeological Unit, Cambridge. Most, but not all, caprine bones are difficult to identify to species; however, it was possible to identify a limited range of sheep specimens from the assemblage, using the criteria of Boessneck (1969). Unidentifiable fragments were assigned to general size categories where possible. Ageing of the assemblage employed both mandibular tooth wear (Grant 1982; Payne 1973) and fusion of proximal and distal epiphyses (Silver 1969). Sexing using morphological characteristics was only undertaken for pig canines based on their size, shape and root morphology (Schmid 1972: 80-81). The Gallus/ Numida/ Phasianus group of closely related Galliformes are difficult to distinguish and these were only recorded as Galliformes. Other bird identifications will, at this stage, have to remain provisional or left at Family/ Order level pending further specialist analysis. Taphonomic criteria including indications of butchery, pathology, gnawing activity and surface modifications as a result of weathering were also recorded when evident.

Two pits produced the total of 48 bone specimens. The range of species is relatively varied, given the small quantity of faunal material. Pit B/D yielded a small, yet interesting array of domestic and wild species with sheep accounting for 72.8% of the sub-set and giving the MNI count for three individual animals (Table 4). An articulated cat skeleton came from pit B/D aged 4 to 8 months. Butchery was crude, noted on 10 specimens (23.2%) including rabbit and sheep/ goat. The most common actions were performed to prepare for disarticulation or to dismember portions of skeleton.

A further 70 assessable fragments came from two layers: [15] and [16]. Sheep is again the prevalent species, with a limited range of bird species being present (Table 5). A midshaft fragment of a human fibula also came from [15]. One of the unidentified bird specimens could potentially represent a bird of prey; however, this identification will have to be undertaken at later stage.

A range of other ambiguously dated contexts produced the largest sub-set within the assemblage totalling 237 fragments, of which 76 were identified to species (32%). A relatively broad range of bird species was recorded, with a portion of the bird component being identified to species level (provisionally - pending further identifications) and the remainder being assigned to a family or order (Table 6). Of 237 specimens from this sub-set, 133 came from [043] and this is also where the majority of the birds came from. Animal bone material coming from spreads in trench 1 and trench 2 showed a similar range of species, although, it would seem, with a slightly greater emphasis on the livestock component of the assemblage. Butchery was relatively common and it is noteworthy that cut marks were also recorded on bird and rabbit bones, which a testimony to a good preservation.

In conclusion, in 17th and 18th century Jesus College mutton appears to have been regularly eaten, followed by rabbit and a wide array of bird species, both domestic and wild. One butchery action was exceptionally common in this assemblage and that is splitting animal carcass in half by chopping the vertebrae along the dorso-ventral axis. Although present in some prehistoric assemblages, this butchery technique was extremely rare until the 16th century when it becomes increasingly important (Maltby 1979). In general, domestic species appear to have made a major contribution with a number of wild species hinting at remains of ‘high table’ banquets. The assemblage is broadly similar to the Trinity Kitchen’s faunal record (Rajkovača in prep.) in terms of the range of species and comparable butchery techniques. When viewed against other contemporaneous assemblages from the city, it has the potential to offer more distinct answers about socio-economic and dietary practices from Medieval and Post-Medieval Cambridge.

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