Friday, 18 October 2013

Report: By Supervisor Bryan - What did we find in Trench 2?

 Photo 1: Trench 2 looking north(ish)

 Photo 2: Trench 2, looking east. Rubble layer, with wall of square stone blocks beginning to appear (right)

The most distinctive feature in Trench 2 was a dump of stone rubble, in the middle of the trench (see Photos 1 background and Photo 2), which separates the deposits to north and south. Part of the rubble was removed, revealing a wall built of large square stone blocks with a fine pebble surface to either side (just visible to right on Photo 2).

The deposits to the north were largely unexcavated, as they were under water most of the time! Hopefully they can be excavated promptly next year, as they overlie and so partly conceal, the rubble layer.

The dark deposits on the south side of the rubble contain fairly large amounts of slag and appear to have been related to industry. The latest of these deposits overlie the rubble layer and may well be late Roman or early post-Roman in date. Various features were cut into these deposits. At the south end of the trench was an amorphous linear feature (an eaves drip?) aligned north-north-east/south-south-west, possibly associated with two large post pad footings on the same alignment a little to the north. These features cut into a pebble surface (foreground, Photo 1). Moving northwards, possible charred planks await excavation (see black patches, centre of Photo 1). Between the possible planks and the rubble layer were a multitude of post-holes, on an east-west alignment (being excavated by the pair of diggers closest to the camera, Photo 1).

Beneath the dark deposits were lighter deposits, including orange burnt clay, observed in the base of all the cut features excavated so far. The overall impression is of a long sequence of intense Roman activity, much of it industrial in character.

Evidence of later activity was restricted to the post-medieval (17th-19th century?) ploughing. One of the last features excavated was a small drainage or boundary ditch, at the south end of the trench. This contained clay pipe, and so is associated with the post-medieval farming. Hopefully only Roman (and early post-Roman?) features remain to be excavated next year!

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