Last season as well as excavating our regular trenches we undertook some very basic survey using a penetrometer (basically a pointy steel rod) to investigate any slightly raised areas of ground with different patches of vegetation. We thought it was possible that this simple technique could help us identify further burnt mounds. It seemed to work, as when the penetrometer point came down on something hard and crunchy, we dug a very small spade-width test pit to confirm what we had, and most times we found burnt stone fragments that indicated a newly discovered burnt mound. In the case of one discovery, near to the fence line, even the small pit revealed the presence of burnt bone. Too intriguing to pass up! So this year we have placed a much larger trench on the site to investigate the mound, find out how large it is, and to see if we can reveal any other features associated with it.
The results so far have been very encouraging. We found a number of sherds of pottery directly beneath the topsoil, some close enough together that they might even be from the same vessel, within a small pit. At the moment we think that they date from the Bronze Age, but confirmation of this will come from specialist analysis.
Near to the pottery there is what we believe to be a further, larger, pit together with several stake-holes. We have yet to resolve these into anything structural, but as we clean further we will keep a keen eye out for further evidence as identifying any structural remains associated with the burnt mound will be of great interest. We already have investigated evidence of a stake-hole structure at a higher and later level, slightly closer to the bog. To see a short video about this later level feature click here.
In addition to the stake-holes we have recovered numerous flint fragments. Some are micro-tools and once a simple blade. One piece of flint in particular has caused much excitement as it is a fine red colour. A very unusual find indeed, and the first such piece from the excavation. Tracing its origins could prove very enlightening as it may hint at contacts between our site and the wider area.