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This blog is a behind the scenes look at the Roman Baths in Bath. We hope you enjoy reading our stories about life surrounding the Roman Baths.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Cataloguing Keynsham

Cataloguing museum collections is no mean feat. Back in 2011 The Roman Baths Collections team, helped by some hardy volunteers spent a number of days recording archaeological material held in the basement of Keynsham Town hall. These were objects excavated from three key sites in Keynsham’s history, the Roman villa discovered at Durley Hill, the Roman house at Somerdale and the Medieval Abbey (the remains of which are In Keynsham, Memorial Park). Excavated in the 1920’s the material from both Somerdale and Durley Hill had previously been held in the museum at the Cadbury’s site. The storage situation in Keynsham Town Hall was by no means ideal including stonework laid out as it had been excavated or would have been constructed originally. With the closure of the Town Hall and the demolition of the building imminent, the accessioning of the collections had to be done in unusual circumstances on a tight time scale, before being moved to where they are currently stored at our Pixash Lane Archaeology Store.

Window from Keynsham Abbey laid out in Town Hall basement

Since the collection was accessioned in 2011 work has been carried out on some of the collection to produce a more detailed catalogue of information, however this has not been comprehensive, and as such there are large portions of the collection that need further cataloguing.

The collection from Keynsham Abbey comprises some 2200 objects predominantly excavated in advance of the building of Keynsham Bypass in the 1960s. Many of these objects have only a basic identification, in order that the collection can be best made accessible, further information identifying each object is needed. The collection is currently organised by type of material, which makes dividing jobs quite easy; and so it was that in September a band of local volunteers started cataloguing the Medieval floor tiles. Barbara Lowe, the key excavator of Keynsham Abbey had published a catalogue of the tiles and to date the accessioning of the tiles had related to the tile design in the publication.

One of the Medieval tiles photographed by volunteers

Our local volunteers have valiantly begun photographing, weighing and describing the 34 boxes of Medieval tiles, using this publication as a reference; they’ve also been measuring stonework and accessioning even more tiles…and let’s not forget helping with an open day!


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