Day 4: Fifty Sherds of Grey

15 Aug

The finds are coming out of the ground as we start to get into the top fills of the triple ditches. The northern-most ditch in particular is very rich and people seem to have been chucking large bits of horses’ heads in and other domestic waste.

Archaeologists think that it is perfectly acceptable to call a horse’s jaw “domestic waste”, although I’ll wager there’s not many archaeologists have a horse’s head in their fridge.

We can imagine a situation after the town walls have been built (about AD 270-75 maybe) and the ditches are no longer required for defence. People come out of the town along the road (that is starting to appear in the trench), trundling their carts of rubbish, which they then just chuck in the handy ditches next to the road. So far the rubbish seems to be sort of 3rd-4th century in date as might be expected. It includes lots of the ubiquitous local grey ware pottery (hence today’s title for which kudos to Sarah P.) plus table ware from the Nene valley and Samian ware (red shiny pottery). The latter is generally very old when it goes into the ground so it probably constituted granny’s best crockery that was brought out on occasion and only broken periodically.

Here’s some geophysics with the location of the ditches trench shown (arrow). You can see the ditches and a line of the road coming out of the town

Meanwhile over in Giles’ World of Anglo Saxons, it can be confirmed that there IS a sunken-featured building type feature in the trench. We haven’t dug it yet but it looks the right size and shape. Even if it isn’t an Anglo-Saxon building it is still exactly the size and shape and in the location that the geophysics said. Dave B is justifiably smug and is hoping to finish the project on a triumphant note, following the absentee round-houses of previous years. Dave’s geophysics was unfairly blamed for the lack of round-houses in the past, although it was the Dear Leader who was more insistent on their presence.

Some people standing around a trench hoping for an Anglo Saxon hut

We’ve also had the BBC here today, filming a part of a documentary about aerial photography and archaeology. The Dear Leader tries to ensure some product placement by getting A-Plant’s wheelbarrows in shot while Ben Robinson (presenter) opens himself up to mockery from his colleagues at his day job with English Heritage by doing some televisual troweling with Heather. Photos to follow.

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