Archaeologist, West Midlands
Janine is the regional archaeologist for the West Midlands. She looks after a wide range of sites in the region from the hillforts of Herefordshire, prehistoric uplands of Shropshire, medieval moated sites, to numerous designed landscapes and remains of WW2 airfields and hospitals.
I have been the regional archaeologist for the West Midlands since 2011 and one of the main things I really enjoy about the job is the really diverse range of things that I can be working on from week to week. For example, in recent months some of my projects have included working in partnership with colleagues from Historic England to assess erosion damage on the Bronze Age landscape of the Long Mynd in Shropshire, arranging laser scanning of cave dwellings at Kinver Edge, attending meetings to discuss new car park locations at various properties and trying to interpret a 65ha geophysical survey of the parkland at Shugborough.
One of the most exciting recent projects I have been working on has been the excavation of an Anglo Saxon hall located on the wider estate at Attingham. This has been particularly interesting as only a small number of halls like this have been excavated in Britain.
The site is nationally recognised for its archaeological importance and is protected by being designated a Scheduled Monument. It was originally identified via aerial photographs showing a complex of cropmarks and, until now, the field has been left undisturbed with no further investigations carried out. Due to concerns surrounding damage to the site we sought permission from Historic England to excavate part of the site in partnership with the University of Birmingham. We also worked with the Newport Historical Society and the Portable Antiquities Scheme.
We were delighted with our findings from the dig, which confirmed that the site was indeed a high status building from the Anglo Saxon period, possibly a feasting hall, or perhaps even be a palace. We found evidence that the building was of wooden frame, dug into a trench with wattle and daub walls, and a number of artefacts were also found. These included several Roman coins, three Roman brooches, Roman pottery, a Saxon loom weight and part of a Viking stirrup mount, as well as a probable Anglo Saxon strap tag.