Weekly Round-Up: Week 2

Trench 5a

After finding over a dozen iron objects in Trench 5a, but still no medieval wall, we extended northward. This topsoil was a treasure trove of 19th and 20th-century rubbish, which may sound pretty foul, but can be quite enjoyable from a research perspective because there are lots of great resources for antique and vintage material culture from collectors and enthusiasts. Check out our recent post on the rubber bottle stoppers!

Trench 5b

Trench 5b was very busy this week. We uncovered another corner of what we believe to be Elmund’s Tower, but there is still a fairly messy mortar spread, protected by the thick foliage, to deal with.

The footprint of the tower has a post-medieval structure that sits on top of the western return of the wall that juts out into the middle of the tower footprint. We can follow that wall down via ‘The Void’ (an area under excavation where we are removing the rubble and silt/sand that currently fills the tower interior), which we extended in three directions, because the medieval wall on the sea-ward side is our tower footprint.

In the mock-up below, the green is masonry we have exposed, the blue is what we expect to find under the soil and windblown sand yet to be removed. The red square is the area cleared of the interior fill, while the yellow is rubble.

After getting our hands on two 19th-century plans, from the beginning and end of the century, we now believe the well is under the rubble (the yellow area). It is our intention to continue to remove the rubble interior fill, focusing on the area to the right of the red square in the drawing below, to reveal as much of the room below as possible.

Trench 5b, sea-ward area.
The Void is Void-ier – area cleared of rubble fill within the interior of the medieval tower structure. There are now 3 visible iron pegs from left to right bottom of the wall face depicted. There are also wood door frame remains that are likely only a century or two old.

The medieval wall under the post-medieval wall that runs from the modern wooden gate erected by the castle, looks like it connected to the large, extant, ivy-covered masonry still visible today. Our students planned this 9 metre stretch of post-medieval wall and what remains of the wider medieval masonry upon which it sits (see photo above).

Finds

We cleaned and sorted many kilograms of 2020 material and began to examine the finds from the first week of this season. The most tedious things to clean were the many winkles shells, which are small edible sea snails.

In addition, former staff member Kennedy dropped in to provide a masterclass on archaeological illustration! She pulled some of our recent finds from the archive which the students were able to handle up close to practice capturing the important details and working to scale.

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