Monday, January 21, 2013

Archelogical Evidence of Jane Austen's Home

Jane Austen was born in 1775 at the old Steventon Rectory in the Hampshire countryside and lived there for nearly 25 years. She wrote Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility there. After her family moved to Bath, the rectory was soon demolished and the land became a pasture over the years.

A recent archeological dig at the site has unearthed foundations and objects and revealed secrets of Austen's early home life.

"Contemporary records and an initial geophysical scan of the ground was used to identify the exact position of the house. No visible signs of the building remained, aside from a blocked-off well. Project director Debbie Charlton, of Archeo Briton, said: 'It was nerve wracking when the first bricks appeared. We weren't 100% sure we were in the right place when we started.'"

The revealed foundations match the description of the house published by Austen's nephew. Even then, he knew that Austen was going to be popular and fans would be seeking all such details about her.

The scientists unearthed nearly 500 shards of china, storage jars, wine glass stems, and clay pipes and 1,000 nails. Plate shards reveal the famous blue willow pattern that the family would've eaten off of. "The initial studies of the finds of pottery and storage utensils have revealed a more down-to-earth existence of the family" than depicted in Austen's books.

Scientists hope that "the finds will go on display at Basingstoke's Willis Museum when a full study has been completed."