Tantalizing teamwork in the Trenches... and farewell to Trench 14

Our mean keen bucketing team of Archaeologists began the day today by draining the puddles left over the weekend in the paddock. #FeelingDrained should be trending internationally on twitter any moment now as the picture below was uploaded onto twitter and Instagram.

#FeelingDrained. A great team effort to start the day by bucketing the water from the upper part of Trench 8

On a slightly more academic and reflective note, the Social Media team had a chat with Supervisor Emily Glass about the results of trench 14, because today is the last day of the 2014 excavation season that we will be working on that particular trench. Trench 14 (measuring 4 x 4 metres) was first opened in 2010 following a series of geophysical surveys that indicated a distinct anomaly in that area – it was a very dark patch when compared to the rest of the field... 

Following excavations, this anomaly was found to be comprised of dense brick fragments, and deposits of burnt clay mixed with black silt and charcoal. This has been interpreted as the result of a significant ‘burning event’ which may have been associated with the demolition and burning of one of the three main buildings that were left in the paddock by the time of the Civil War.

Further cleaning down revealed that we had just clipped the edge of a structure that the burnt area was laid up against. This may be the edge of a house and garden owned by St Augustine’s College of Bristol which was noted as being in this part of Nelme’s Paddock in Tax Survey documents of 1541 and 1544.

Trench 14 has yielded a plethora of exciting finds so far, including pottery, a range of buttons, a whole thimble, a lead spindle whorl, a fragment of an iron blade, a whetstone (used for sharpening the knives), a lead cap from the civil war, a fragment of a cauldron, part of a brooch and a bone awl for leather working. In such a small trench it is really exciting to find such a vast range of items.  Just some of them are shown below.

A mere microcosm of some of the finds from Trench 14

Following this season of work we will reanalyse the geophysical surveys to try and see if we can work out the size of this building. This will enable us to make our excavation plans for next year which will hopefully provide us with concrete dates and more artefacts to give us a much clearer picture of what was happening in the Paddock during the Civil War and earlier periods. The students have done a wonderful job on the trench; Alex Copsey is a 3rd year student who boldly volunteered to lead as trench supervisor and has been described as doing a ‘sterling job’. His ability to organise the students in doing physical excavation to contents sheets, final planning and section drawing has allowed us to have a really successful few weeks of excavation, and we look forward to seeing what Trench 14 holds for us next year…!  

Finishing up. Thor and Sophie finalise measurements of Trench 14 this morning