Second Hand Archaeology
Dig Director Simon introduces us to the trench -
Work has successfully started for the new season blessed by some fine weather with the odd shower to keep the site moist. We have reopened Trench IV, which we last looked at back in 2008. It is an area that has great potential with loads of demolition material from the mansion destroyed during the Civil War in 1645 and the hope that a Roman road passes under it. The process of emptying out the old backfill (mainly by machine but finished off by students) has produced quantities of finds even though it had been excavated before (that's the second hand archaeology!). Our metal detectorist, Colin, has found a quantity of musket balls from the Civil War, whilst the students have found lots of pottery and clay tobacco pipes from the period.
Now we have cleared that away, we are on to the serious stuff, cleaning up new undisturbed layers.
More updates soon!
Julie sums up the day's events -
As well as clearing out the backfill, everyone was introduced to context recording sheets today and refresher sessions on using the dumpy level were started with Lewis, Joseph, Adam and Tom setting up a new temporary benchmark for the site. The Park started getting busy this afternoon with people enjoying the sunshine and many of them stopped by the trench to ask what we were doing, including one small boy and his dad visiting from Scotland.
Colin and the students found quite a variety of finds in the backfill. Apart from the lead shot, there was also the cap from a gunpowder flask, which is about the fourth one we've found in the Park. Amongst all the modern coins was a coin of Elizabeth I and Colin also found a coin weight (more information to come on that one). Lots of clay pipe fragments, including several with stamped marks and decoration, and some that appear to be wasters from the many tobacco pipe kilns that were once in this area of the city.
Amongst the fragments of pottery are the handle from a 16th century Raeran stoneware mug, the rim and handle fragments from 16th century Cistercian-type ware cups and a nice little fragment from a North Devon slipware dish.