HUNDREDS of pieces of medieval and Georgian Dorset have been found lying right underneath the feet of one West Dorset resident.
Rosemary Maw, 70, has unearthed over 150 bottle fragments, almost 20 pieces of medieval jugs, and extensive cobble and flint foundations in the back garden of her Grade II listed house, The Old Manor.
Mrs Maw is continuing to discover new artefacts after her husband found a number of 17th and 18th century glass fragments while digging flowerbeds in the back garden of their house in Stratton, three miles from Dorchester.
She said: “I have never had to dig my own garden. We keep finding more and more, the amount of flint and rubble in my garden is unbelievable.”
The fortunate finds are particularly interesting for Mrs Maw, who has a history of archaeology degree and recently spent a year studying ceramics at Southampton University.
In addition to uncovering a medieval baking oven and well, Mrs Maw has dug up monogrammed jugs, a crown-design chamber pot, pottery repaired with medieval copper wire and what she says may be one of the earliest coffee mugs in Europe.
Several of the fragments Mrs Maw has discovered are from rare artefacts, and some are almost exact matches of pieces displayed in London museums.
Mrs Maw, who volunteers at Dorset County Museum in Dorchester, said: “Some of the fragments date back to when the Normans were bringing in French pottery to the area and local craftsmen were wanting to copy those designs.
“There is such a variety, it’s really interesting.”
An initial exhibition of the pieces at her house attracted over one hundred visitors from Stratton and surrounding towns and villages.
There has also been interest from Dorset County Museum and from expert archaeologists for Dorset and Bristol.
Mrs Maw said she wanted to thank all her colleagues volunteering at the Museum, and she hopes that there is potential in the future to display the artefacts at the County Museum in Dorchester in a future exhibition.
She said: “I would like Stratton to have a certain pride in these fascinating finds which are so diverse, and hopefully we will find more.”
Rosemary is calling on able-bodied volunteers to help with excavation and post-excavation work – if anyone is interested email her at firstname.lastname@example.org