Here’s Laura on her hands and knees in the trench. That isn’t an arrow on her right hand side that I’ve added later to point something out, by the way. It’s somebody’s cheesecake knife. I’ve no idea what it’s doing in there, but I didn’t get to share the cheesecake whatever the case.
With all the recording done and the rain now bucketing down with such force that our various hat brims resembled QVC lampshades, we backfilled the trench. None of the sods we’d removed when we’d opened it fitted into the hole again. Don’t ask me why, but there are always at least five large chunks of grass-covered ground left over on every excavation, which somebody invariably attempts to squeeze into the gaps with the heel of their boot with little success. The finished result more often than not looks like a stegosaurus.
Before all that, of course, we took the money shot…which we’ve reproduced for you below.
All that was left to do now was go home and write up the excavation report. (Hah! That’s all…just the insignificant weeklong scanning, context sheet filling, stratigraphic matrix building and report writing session. Why do you think I never actually do any digging? All the really hard work happens behind the computer, believe me.)
As I just mentioned, sort of, part of the excavation report consisted of scanning in the small finds (such as they were) most of which came up in the topsoil.
One: Part of a door hinge. A bit on the rusted side. Probably cheaper to buy a new one.
Two: A broken tile found amongst the rubble of the wall. Might have been a teapot stand.
Three: Three shards of glazed pottery, one of which was willow pattern. We’re getting quite a lot of willow pattern fragments now. At this rate we’ll be able to reconstruct an entire tea service.
Four: Lime mortar found in the collapsed wall. Wouldn’t bring much on the black market.
Five: Small fragments of glass, all modern. Somebody, somewhere’s been enjoying a bottle of cider.
Six: Pieces of slate. Too thin to be roofing material. Who knows what they were doing in there.
Seven: Small piece of brick. We left the larger fragments in situ when the trench was backfilled. Well, I’m not lugging a dirty great load of bricks home with me and having them piled up all over the house.
Eight: Brown pottery, possibly the base of a storage jar. Wonder what sort of biscuits they were.
Our reader’s probably sitting there now thinking, “What a total load of old rubbish!” Well…yes…you’d be right…but archaeology’s in the detail. For instance, some of those brick fragments were pre-Tudor. Don’t ask us how we know. There are answers out there if you want to find them. This fact, however, coupled with the lime mortar and the large cobblestones, suggests that our hovel was random built, recycled no doubt from the ruins of something much older. The mediaeval water mill, perhaps? The potential keeill? Obviously not the chicken shack…it’s highly unlikely that a herd of chickens had a Tudor style brick residence to live in. Whatever the case, further investigation is required. So, if you’re interested to see how we get on, then stay tuned for more exciting adventures…at some point.