Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Day 8: Wednesday 12th June

Despite the terrible rain last night, we arrived on site to a beautiful, clear morning today, and plenty of enthusiastic volunteers.

In Trench 1 things are still steadily progressing, tomorrow we hope to tackle the interior of the flanker and remove the current upper layer of brick rubble. It is foreseeable that there will be a large amount of material to remove, so a hard day of work ahead. In preparation for this, the spoil heap and stone pile next to the trench has been moved about six feet further to the southeast and away from the edge of the trench. While this may seem like unnecessary extra work, it was unfortunately necessary, both for health and safety reasons as the ever growing pile of rubble and soil was slowly beginning to tower over the edge of the trench and cause issues with access. Also, the flanker wall is slightly larger than expected and the extra space we gain by moving the spoil heap means we can expose the flanker fully, making it worth the extra effort.

More of the lead pipe running into the stone box has been uncovered and seems fairly intact, we can only follow its course as far as the trench edges allow but the surrounding associated layers and features have left us with a complex puzzle which we hope to piece together by the end of the week.

In Trench 2, Stuart was continuing the excavation and recording of his drainage feature. He removed the slate capping and sampled the soil fill. Hopefully this sample will yield some environmental evidence or artefact material that will help us to date this feature.

A third trench, Trench 3, has been opened over an anomaly which was identified in the geophysical survey as a possible wall with entrance-way.  This may be a continuation of the bawn wall leading from the flanker in Trench 1. Locating the entrance-way to the bawn is important as it will hopefully inform us further of the nature, size and exact location of the bawn in relation to the remaining flanker and surrounding landscape. So far, excavation of this trench is revealing a high concentration of large angular stones, most likely rubble from a collapsed wall. We are hoping that beneath this layer, solid wall foundations will emerge. Tree roots continue to be a nuisance across the site by making digging difficult.

Here’s hoping tomorrow’s weather is just as good too! Thanks to all our great volunteers today, Li, Gregory, Margaret, Linda, Maureen and Pat. Many thanks also to George, Brendan and the rest of the Prehen Historical and Environmental Society for all their ongoing interest and provision of useful maps and information as the excavation has progressed.

Trench 1, planning and excavation in progress

Volunteers Linda and Li working hard in Trench 3
Finds from trench 3 today, from the topsoil, lots of pot sherds, glass and metal

The drain feature in Trench 2 following its excavation

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