Louis joined YAT fresh from his studies at the University of York. His passion for making archaeology accessible to all served him well in his educational role. He has given countless tours of Dig and Hungate, worked with the events team to engage the public with the past, and presented workshops and outreach visits on an eclectic variety of subjects, from medieval medicine to vertebrate evolution. Over the past year, Louis has had the privilege of taking part in the recent Rationalisation and Resilience projects being run by the Trust.
Animal Bone Retention Scheme
This project aimed to create a catalogue of the bones collected across the vast Hungate site, with the intention of allowing the zooarchaeologists to decide what material would be kept, and what would be discarded.
To do this, our teams tirelessly worked our way through each and every context of the site, sorted the amassed jumbles of bone, recorded their type, number, and condition, then photographed them all for the marvel of posterity.
Our assemblage came from an urban area, heavily utilised throughout the later-medieval period as a dumping ground. If this conjures an image of intense disposal of cow bones into toilet-pits, then the collection we studied would validate your fancy. There was a seemingly endless supply of cess-encrusted bovine bones; with just enough pig, sheep and horse to keep things interesting. The best part of a dog or cat would often add variety to our experience, and the birds, fish, and occasional human bone would keep us constantly on our toes. I had the good fortune to witness some of the past’s faunal diversity with the discovery of not only a crab claw, but also the penis bone of an as of yet unidentified marine mammal. Another personal highlight came when I identified some knot-work, carved into an abandoned rib with a centuries old artistic flourish.
While the end of the project arrived all too quickly, I have since had the good fortune to take up the position of Archive Intern, and that shall be the subject of my next reminiscence…