Shedding light on the metal working building

Stephanie, Trench 3 Supervisor, here with another update:

Over the past week, excavations in Trench 3 have focused on the SE corner, where the 2009 sandbags were removed to recover the section sides. Students have worked diligently to excavate the early medieval layers upon which the 2009 sandbags were sat. Long time followers of the blog may recall that Trench 3’s metal working building is located in the SE corner. While most of the metal working building was removed during the 2012 season, some of the foundations remain. Seeing as the SE section edges lay just south of the metal working building, we hoped that our recent excavations in this area might shed additional light on the building and its surrounds features.

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Burning deposit

Thus far, we have discovered that directly south of the metal working building sits a rather thick burning deposit. We believe that this deposit is the result of the repeated dumping of burning material, creating layers and patches of light to mid-brownish orange, dark brownish-red, and black burnt material. The burning deposit is amorphous in its shape and varies in thickness. While at this time we can only speculate that the formation of the burning deposit is associated with the metal working building’s industrial processes, finds from the deposit, such as iron nails and other iron objects/debris and slag, further support this speculation. Additional finds from the burning area include pottery (possibly Middle-Saxon or Norman?), a lead object, a copper pin, burnt animal bone, and burnt shell. Additionally, two post-holes have been discovered today, just along the edge of our area of excavation—one to the southwest of the metal working building and one to the southeast.

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Post-hole southwest of metalworking building

Farther to the southwest of the metalworking building, students have been excavating the remains of a large dumping context, lovingly known as (3241). This context once covered much of Trench 3 and was well-known for being rich in large animal bones, as well as small finds of various materials. This season, small finds from this context have included several stycas, several iron objects/nails, and two flint fragments.

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Students excavating the burning layer and 3241 south of the metal working building

We expect to finish excavations at the edge of the SE corner tomorrow, as we are nearly level with our 2014 area of excavation. After the SE corner has been photographed and planned, and the new layers have been added to our previous section drawings of the trench walls, we will finally begin the process of tarping and stonewalling the section sides so that they are preserved for future seasons.

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