Saturday, 14 September 2013

A lovely day to be working in a car park!

Friday was a great day to be a field archaeologist. The weather was gorgeous - dry and warm (some of us were in t-shirts) and really nice to be working outdoors. We have a few features turning up in the eastern third of the trench - a cut running across one corner and a stoney surface/feature of some sort. There are a couple of other cuts further south in the trench so we may have to remove some of the central baulk on Monday to get a better look at these before we start excavating them.
Sean and Dermot exposing the stoney surface and cut feature (bottom right of the photo)

Other anomalous features are also turning up in the other part of the trench but are less distinct - we will give this another hard trowel over on Monday and hopefully these will become clearer.

Today Stuart found our first possible gun flint when sieveing. 

Brian, our in-house flint-expert, drew us an illustration on site of a typical English gun flint (square and usually made of black flint) and French (D-shaped and honeycomb flint). Given the context, the piece Stuart found may be an example of the latter. Alternatively it is an out-of-context (residual) prehistoric scraper - either-ways, it is a very nice piece of worked flint.

When sorting out the finds from sieving the 'mud' from Thursday we also found a piece of worked goat horncore that has been cut and pierced and has some surviving incised decoration. I showed it to a friend Michael who reckons the decoration may depict a face - ? It seems probable that it was intended to be cut into segments possibly to make toggles or gaming pieces.

Horn is a keratinous material (like fingernails) and rarely survives on archaeological sites. Both horn and horncores (the bony protrusions attached to the skull that support the horn-sheath in cattle, sheep and goat) were (are) valuable raw materials for making personal and domestic objects and utensils. On medieval and post-medieval urban sites in Ireland and Britain goat horncores are a not uncommon find, often mutually exclusive of other goat skeletal remains. Goat horncore was especially valued because of its straightness and density and it seems likely that goat horncores were imported into towns specifically as a raw material.

A photo of the lead musket shot from Wednesday.

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