As I end my 16 years working as an FLO, I wanted to reflect on what kept me in the job for so long!
One of the things I loved most about being an FLO was handling a wide array of artefacts and continually learning about them. I have had the privilege of learning a lot about finds from many knowledgeable colleagues, some sadly no longer with us. I am extremely grateful to them all for sharing this knowledge with me.
During this time I have been involved with some exciting projects, such as the search for Bosworth battlefield and the associated Roman temple site. I’ve helped with major exhibitions such as Treasure at Snibston and the Vikings in the East Midlands at Nottingham university and I’ve even been on TV a few times (Time Team, The Story of England and the news).
I was proud to be the pilot county for PASt explorers and also extremely proud that ‘my’ Dr Phil Harding was our first ever self-recorder!
Myself and my volunteers have recorded over 32,000 objects, some of which have revealed previously unknown Anglo-Saxon cemeteries and illustrated early Medieval and Medieval settlement shift (look at Peckleton area finds). Many have expanded our knowledge of Roman settlement and all have added in some way to our knowledge of the past in our county and beyond.
Out of all the many artefacts I have handled the finds that stand out for me are ones that have massively changed the view of our area. Processing the Treasure case that is now known as the Bosworth Boar (‘Bozzie’ to us LEIC-A6C834) was spine tingling. A small object with great significance, pinpointing the spot Richard III fell in battle.
Other Treasure cases such as the linked gold bracteates from the Melton area (LEIC-EDD980 and LEIC-1E63A8) and the stunning gold buckle from Rutland (LEIC-47843A which also led to the discovery of a previously unknown Bronze Age barrow cemetery!) have shown that our counties were quite wealthy and perhaps an important area in the early Saxon period, rather than the backwater they were previously thought.
But for me personally the highlight has been recording several Scandinavian brooches that have helped to map the extent of this culture in the area and most important of all, the Anglo-Viking coins found in the north of the county (LEIC-4FC58C LEIC-B7F405 LEIC-19C0DA and LEIC-B230B8) . These, along with the Thurcaston hoard (LEIC-C6D945), show that the area must have been home to Scandinavian populations, as these coins were not legal tender, so unlikely to be used by the natives. Along with two silver ingots from the Breedon area (DENO-34FB88 and DENO-CE6103) , they show that a ‘dual economy’ was practised, a key indicator for Scandinavian settlement.
I will continue to develop my interest in the Scandinavians in England, as I work on the Lenborough coin hoard and explore the impact of Anglo-Danish rule for my Doctorate. I will never forgot my time as an FLO. We are all changing the face of English and Welsh Archaeology one find at a time and long may this continue!