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  • David Quick

The area of focus of CM917

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

This post is just to explain what we are focusing on during this CM917 autumn dig.

The above image is taken from our geographical information software and shows the core part of our dig site. Key points to note are:

  • The background image is one of last autumn's aerial photos (orthomosaics) stitched together in software from over 200 separate drone images.

  • The enclosure ditch, shown as a purple dotted line, was 2-3m wide and up to 2m deep and is presumed to have been to keep domestic animals in (and wild animals out).

  • The layer of grey 'splotches' is where our geophysics resistivity scan detected areas of high resistivity in the ground, and therefore possible disturbance in the past.

  • The red splotches are areas of high return on the magnetometry geophysics scan, and therefore indicate high ferrous content - sometimes caused by clay deposits with a high iron content.

  • The little white squares and rectangles are where we have dug test pits - usually on a feature seen in the geophysics scans.

  • The shapes shaded in blue are the trenches from previous digs.

  • Trench U, shaded in red and outlined in yellow, is our main trench this time. We are also digging evaluation trench 55 and test pits 56 and 57.

In past digs we have found the foundations of a sizeable building, starting in Trench L. At the southern end of this building was a kitchen area about 7m x 7m and this square room had walls so thick that we think it must have been more than one storey high. This kitchen had the remains of an oven (which would have been igloo-shaped) inside which was a cooking bowl containing the remains of a meal including animal bones.

From this square room we have then found the foundations of what seems to be a long rectangular building running about 7 degrees off from a north-south axis. There was possibly a covered corridor on the western side of this building. We can tell which way the roof sloped from the drip - gullies - the marks in the ground where the rain fell from the roof, because there were no gutters.

If this building follows a conventional Roman shape, as we hope, then we could expect there to be another square room (tower?) and the northern end too.

One of the test pits spans the boundary ditch, which usually yields pottery and building material (because over the 350 years or so of occupation here the ditches accumulated material thrown away. Another includes an area of interest seen on the geophysics plot.

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