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archaeologist“Do the eyeballs rot away?!”
Hobnails
Bacteria that destroy organic materials will thrive when air, warmth and moisture are present in soil.
Here, hobnails survive from Roman boots; leather uppers have decomposed.
© Canterbury Archaeological Trust Ltd.


archaeologist“Do the eyeballs rot away?!”
Anglo-Saxon cemetery
Bone contains mineral (calcium) and organic (collagen) matter.
In neutral soils the calcium component of bone will normally survive well. Soft tissue – skin, organs etc – will decompose.
(adult female, Anglo-Saxon cemetery, Buckland, Dover).
© Canterbury Archaeological Trust Ltd.


archaeologist“Do the eyeballs rot away?!”
Anglo-Saxon home or workshop
Evidence for an Anglo-Saxon home or workshop – a rectangular shape lined with large circles of black soil where wooden posts once stood and smaller circles in between where the upright branches of wattling panels stood.
© Canterbury Archaeological Trust Ltd.


archaeologist“Do the eyeballs rot away?!”
Organic materials
Organic materials can survive when air, moisture or warmth are absent as destructive bacteria need all three to survive.
Leather (left) and the wooden Bronze Age Dover Boat (top right) all survived in waterlogged conditions (no air).
© Canterbury Archaeological Trust Ltd.


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