Supervisor, Neal Lythe, reports from Trench 1.
Over the past few weeks, Trench 1 has seen a lot of excavation and we are progressing along quite nicely. This is due to both the hard work of the students, and Alex for whipping them into shape.
Finds have not been very frequent, however features are springing up from everywhere and we have set our sights on some of these.
We have mainly focused on three main areas of the trench; the return of a robbed out building, Building B, which we believe was a stone built building of Anglo-Saxon/early Norman date. Secondly, a large post-hole/pit feature that was previously half sectioned within the older part of the trench. The third feature is a hearth and its surrounding contexts, which became visible after the removal of a context 1314, which was a floor surface made up of a series of flat stone slabs.
Building B that was visible as an L shape feature within the older part of the trench and it has been quite hard to define within the trench extension. It is not visible in plan and it doesn’t appear to be visible even when the trench is wet. Despite this, we can see the cut through the bedrock on one side and we could partially see it within the section as it cuts through a lead working area on its eastern edge.
Since taking the section back between the older part of the trench and the extension to match the alignment of the building, we were then able to see the cut of the robber trench approximately three quarters of the way up the section, after that the edge was quite difficult to determine. The robber trench cuts through a lead working area which is also cut by a large post-hole/pit feature on its opposite side.
We also put a section next to the bedrock in order to obtain a section facing the opposite direction, leaving a baulk of fill between the two sections. We decided to dig down to find the bottom of the cut and chase it back to determine the rest of the edge as again it doesn’t appear to be visible in plan. In chasing this edge, we now feel we have successfully located the entire cut of the robber trench next to where it cuts through the bedrock.
There have been a few finds found within context 1153, which is the fill of the robber trench, these have mainly been nails, although a large fragment of pottery was found by Josh, who is one of our students from the land of Kangaroo’s. We have provisionally identified this as a piece of amphora.
The fill has been sampled and sections have been drawn and we are now ready to take photographs after which the last of the fill can be removed.
The large post-hole/pit feature as mentioned earlier, was partially excavated within the older part of the trench during the 2004 season and is visible on planning running into the old limit of excavation, which is now our trench extension. The section was taken back and then re-drawn and photographed before we could remove and sample the remaining fill. The post-hole/pit has 2 large stones in the bottom of it, however these appear to go into the cut of the feature 1099, our first thought was that they could be packing stones for a large post hole, however as they are seemingly in the actual cut of the feature then they maybe part of an earlier feature that appears on the eastern edge of 1099.
The other area that we have concentrated our efforts on is the area surrounding the hearth, this is due to the hearth overlying the relationship between Building A (an Anglo-Saxon timber building) and Building B. In order for us to see the relationship between the two, the hearth needs to be removed. Before this can be done, we needed to clean up and record the various contexts surrounding it and remove them if necessary. The contexts surrounding the hearth are 1318, 1324 and 1327 have been planned and we are now awaiting the inevitable deluge from above to hit, so the trench can given a well overdue drink. This will enable us to get a good overall clean up done on this area after which we can take some photographs and then remove and sample all of these contexts.
There will be a further update on the People’s Republic of Trench 1 in the near future. Goodbye for Now.
Thanks for the update Neal.