Post Excavation Leather Workshop

Friar’s Garth Leather workshop

During our 2014 excavation at Abbeytown, we opened up an area that we had previously evaluated in 2012 in an area known as Friar’s Garth opposite the Abbey, where half a wooden bowl and pieces of leather were found in trench 2 associated with an edge that had been defined by cobbles, which may have once been a pond. The leather and wooden bowl from this evaluation have been conserved.

We opened up a larger area over the previous evaluation trenches to investigate this further and found a waste dump. In amongst the waste, a layer that included a lot of preserved leather was found. We also found preserved wooden items during the time of the excavation. We recovered as much as we could and had the leather and wood conserved at the University of Durham. These reports are available to download form the top of the page. The excavation reports are forthcoming.

Once we had the leather back – less smelly, less slimey and workable, we thought about how it was recorded. Tim Padley at Tullie House kindly ran the workshop for us and we invited volunteers to join us as he went through the leather, showing us the different parts of the shoes that were identifiable and showing us different examples on how the leather could be recorded, before we were allowed to have a go at drawing the leather and putting on the measurements.

A big thank you to Tim Padley for a very interesting afternoon and to the volunteers who joined us.

Many thanks to Ken Needham for supplying some of the photos