As part of the BRP’s ongoing post-excavation analysis of Trench 8 in the West Ward of the Castle (click here for a full description of the research project funded by the Royal Archaeological Institute) we have commissioned specialist analysis of the lithic and glass recovered from the trench.
The lithic and glass assemblages are small but still important when trying to date and interpret the complex stratigraphy in the trench. We recovered ten worked flints, five of which had been re-touched. This assemblage included a probable Mesolithic microlith blade, a thin side and end scraper (see below) and examples of microdebitage. With the exception of the blade fragment, the flint was undiagnostic in terms of their date, which means they could date from the Mesolithic to the Bronze Age. However, as we are currently excavating the early medieval phases of this area of the West Ward and recently recovered pockets of disturbed Roman material, evidence of prehistoric activity is welcome and is indicative of what we might expect in future seasons.
Only two fragments of glass were recovered from Trench 8. One was a post-medieval utility bottle, made from thick, olive green glass. The second fragment is much earlier. The fragment is very small, very pale blue-green to colourless, thin and flat. It is almost completely covered in opaque surface corrosion, even on the break surfaces. This obscures the view of the interior glass, but also suggests that the glass is potash-based and dates to at least the late Anglo-Saxon period, and more likely to the medieval period. Based on our current understanding of the stratigraphy in this area, it is suggested that this fragment came from the bottom of the twelfth to thirteenth century midden deposit, which covers much of the early medieval deposits in this area.
We will combine this information with that available from the metalwork and pottery analysis, plus the radiocarbon dates to hone our understanding and interpretation of Trench 8.