Rob has worked in archaeology since 2001, initially training under the Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service and now working for Suffolk Archaeology. During that time he also attended Southampton University, where he read for a BA Hons in Archaeology, studying a range of topics from Heritage Management, to European Prehistory, with a dissertation specialising in the Iron Age in East Anglia.
Since becoming a Project Officer, Rob has led a variety of fieldwork projects, many of which are currently in the process of publication. These include a medieval dyeing workshop in Lavenham, excavation of 16th century and 18th century Suffolk-type kilns at Euston Estate, a Roman burial site in Long Melford, excavations at the Saxon and medieval river front in Thetford, and excavation of a substantial part of the medieval and post-medieval settlement on the outskirts of Clare.
Rob also works to coordinate surveying for the team’s various sites, as well as helping to maintain the OASIS record, in order to help with disseminating the results of the company’s fieldwork to the public. He also enjoys working on Outreach projects, having been involved with various community excavations, as well as having helped to run talks with schools.
Rob led an excavation at the Guildhall Primary School in Bury St Edmunds, uncovering an interesting range of finds and features within the medieval core of the town. The site would have been within a backyard plot of a house fronting onto Bridewell Lane and such areas were typically not gardens as we think of them today, but functional, working spaces.
The most prominent feature on the site was the flint and mortar foundation of a small medieval building. This may have been the remains of a small kitchen or food store (built away from the house to minimise the risk of a fire spreading), or it could have been used for craft/industrial activities, such as weaving, baking, etc. After it went out of use it was demolished, being backfilled with large quantities of local pottery, animal bone, oyster and mussel shells, roof tiles and floor tiles.
Other features found on the site included quarry pits, dug to extract chalk (that would have been processed into lime for use in mortar) and a small hearth. Finds from the site were particularly interesting, including a gaming counter, a spindle whorl (used for weaving) and a possible chatelaine chain, as well as antler and bone working waste (some of which had been used to make buttons). A Boy Bishop token was also recovered. These were handed out at Christmas by an elected choirboy ‘boy bishop’ to be used for trading in local taverns and shops.