Monday, 16 September 2013

Start of Week 2 at Bishop Street

A wet and very windy start to Week 2. A trench full of leaves and puddles to mop up before we got digging and even then it was start-stop as squally showers moved in. The afternoon was marginally better - at least it was a bit less wet...

Mark Patterson was back on site, once again in his fancy blue runners (despite the mud) and he broke the news of our discovery of human remains - three articulated skeletons so far but it is likely that more will emerge as the week progresses. Dermot and Brian excavated the juvenile skeleton, recorded it and lifted it while under media scrutiny - we had BBC Radio Foyle, BBC Ulster, Joe Mahon & Lesser Spotted Culture,The Belfast/NW Telegraph and Derry Journal all on site.
 The juvenile skeleton excavated today - the blue tags mark the location of nails indicating the presence of a coffin (the wood has decayed)
Brian and Dermot planning the juvenile skeleton
Part of a clay pipe stem was found in the fill of the cut for the coffin and skeleton indicating that we are still in post-medieval deposits. We started to excavate and remove the central baulk (garden soils) as the two other articulated skeletons lie beneath. We have uncovered their two skulls just to the west of the baulk, and as with the juvenile skeleton, these too are orientated east-west mirroring the orientation of St Augustine's church (and presumably the earlier versions that preceded it on the same footprint). Traditionally Christian burials were made east-west, with the head at the western end so that they can face the coming of Christ on Judgement Day.

The team (CAF crew & volunteers) excavating the central baulk

 Emily & Mark Patterson (BBC Foyle) on site this morning


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