Lots of volunteers on site today resulted in a productive day, with lots of discoveries being made in each of the trenches.
In Trench 3, excavation of the ditch fill continued, this was rewarding with éilis finding a musket ball in the deposit. The deposit in the middle of the trench, which was previously thought to be the subsoil, is actually redeposited subsoil which forms a low bank. Interestingly at the northern edge of the bank there appears to be a small revetment wall, 2 courses high.
Cleaning of the revetment wall in trench 3
The musket ball found in trench 3
Lots of interesting new discoveries were made in Trench 4 today, with the very helpful voluntary assistance of Gregory, James and Denise. Excavation of the bank at the NW end of the trench revealed several compact layers; the uppermost of these consists of a mixture of earth and stone with a few fragments of 20th century ceramics and a perforated roofing slate. Beneath this was a layer of large sub-rounded stones which was removed today to reveal a fairly level layer of burnt clay with an abundance of charcoal. Tomorrow this will be sampled for retrieval of dating material, before being fully excavated.
Excavation of the Trench 4 extension also continued today; the bank material found here slopes sharply down towards the north towards a line of stones which run roughly east to west and seem to have the remnants of building mortar still clinging to them. In the space or pit between the bank and the stones, a number of articulated skeletal animal remains have been found. These appear to be canine and at least three in number. Due to their fragile state these will have to be carefully uncovered and recorded in situ before being removed for further examination at a later date. An intact clay pipe bowl with a decorative edging was also recovered from the same soil which surrounds these bones and has been roughly dated to sometime in the 17th century.
Clay pipe bowl found in trench 4
In Trench 5, the hearth feature was a lot smaller than we anticipated, but it still shows that there was a singular episode of burning in this area. Cut into the grey clay at the NE end of the trench was a shallow slot trench running roughly east-west. Both these features were sampled, with the hope that there will be some environmental material for dating. At the opposite end of the trench, the stony deposit is currently being excavated.
Thanks again to our volunteers John H, Jan, Rebecca, éilis, John McL, Pearl, Li, Conall, Olcan, Gregory, Denise and James.