Trench Three End of Season Report

Today we hear from the Trench 3 supervisors, Maria and Steph, as they round up the end of season.

Trench Three End of Season Report

Maria and I (your Trench 3 supervisors!) have noticed the lack of Trench 3 blogs from the end of the season—the Octocopter, Prince Charles, and the Kaims seem to have taken over!  But never fear, Trench 3 continued to excavate and remained interesting right up to the last day of our summer excavation season!  Let’s catch you up to speed:

As many of you will remember from previous blogs, we had quarter sectioned the NW corner of Trench 3 in hopes of better understanding the complex stratigraphy.

The NW corner of Trench 3 quarter sectioned. Excavations taking place in the NW and SE quadrants.

In the western quadrants, north of a substantial stone wall extending from the western limit of excavation (running roughly E-W), we had uncovered a pebbly/gravely floor surface.  The pebbly/gravely floor surface continued south, under the rubble associated with the E-W stone wall, and east as far a second stone wall extending from the northern limit of excavation (running roughly N-S).  It is thus likely that the two stone walls and the floor surface were once part of the same structure.

Upon excavating the pebbly/gravely floor surface, a linear of degraded sandstone running NE-SW was revealed.

Visible in the NW quadrant, the linear of degraded sandstone containing an area of degraded mortar.

Much to our excitement, further excavation of this area showed that the degraded sandstone turned southeast, creating a rather nice right angle!  This suggests that the degraded sandstone is the corner of a wall from an earlier building (as the linear is lower than and running in a different alignment to the stone walls).  Furthermore, the degraded sandstone contains an area of degraded mortar—possibly another floor surface!

View of the degraded sandstone forming a right angle and containing an area of degraded mortar.

As luck would have it, the features in the eastern area of the NW corner are not as clear.  Our current theory is that some sort of pit has been cut into the area, disturbing not only the stone walls and pebbly/gravely floor surface where they should meet at a right angle, but also the earlier sandstone and mortar structure.  So far, this area has a number of ‘mysterious’ features, including patches of charcoal and other burning, patches of degraded mortar and degraded sandstone, patches of clay, lead and iron small finds, and our personal favorite: an expanding hollow chock-full of loose stones (!?).  These features are similar to those found in the western area . . . but not as tidy—it is as if someone has churned up this portion of the NW corner.  Needless to say, this area will need further investigation during the 2013 season!

However, we do believe that the substantial wall running E-W from the western limit of excavation originally extended to the east onto the bedrock.  Indeed, this may partially account for the wall’s disappearance to the east.  Moreover, yet another linear (running N-S) was discovered just east of the bedrock.  The linear consists of a series of stones resting at angles, perhaps used as packing to support wooden beams (?).  Where the linear approaches the bedrock to the north a possible post-hole was excavated.  The different contexts on either side of the linear and its alignment with the substantial E-W stone wall and the N-S stone wall indicate that the linear may have been a partition wall associated with this later building.

Sue (east of the N-S linear and post-hole) and Maria (in front of the N-S stone wall) working in the NW corner.

I think I speak for everyone when I say that it was difficult to leave Trench 3 this season—the archaeology was finally providing some valuable clues to answer some of our long-standing questions, and yet we still have so many questions left to answer!  I am already looking forward to Summer 2013!

Well, that’s Maria and I from Trench 3 signing off until next summer!  We want to thank everyone (and especially our hardworking, often rain-soaked students) for a great season!

Trench 3 Supervisor’s Stephanie and Maria staying warm during tea break!

One thought on “Trench Three End of Season Report

  1. Hello ladies!! I’ve been really enjoying all your posts – it brings back great memories and has proven illuminating on the bigger picture. Speaking of which there are some lovely photos – and you all look gorgeous! Best wishes to all staff and students, especially those who were waiting on exam results or job hunting.

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