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  • David Quick

CM 418 - Sunshine and lots of progress

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

We are well into the Spring dig at Colemore now and after some appalling weather at the beginning of this week that caused us to cancel on Monday, we have been blessed by several days of ideal conditions at the end of the week.

This is a reminder of how things looked on 23 April; we had three trenches on which we were starting work in the north-facing drone image below:

- Trench V (top-left);

- Trench Y (bottom-left); and

- Trench W (right).

Starting with Trench V, this is what it looked like from above (with west at the top of this photo):

We were starting to make out what appeared to be a flint platform, which seemed to have subsided, and also some possible trenches in the places where the soil appears darker. Over the course of the last week thinks have changed considerably and this is what Trench V looked like on 3 May:

The above four images show Mark Ruutel working in a ditch with obvious stratification. We have been getting a few pieces of pottery from the excavation but not much, and a lot of what we have found is very degraded. The ditch is probably some 3 metres across but we have no idea yet how far down it goes and the excavation here is ongoing. Meanwhile work has been continuing in the rest of this trench, led by Liz, and there has been a sondage and a section in other places where there appear to be ditches on a different alignment.

Meanwhile, you may recall that what was originally a test pit was extended to a trench 3m x 5m and renamed Trench Y because this trench also showed a ditch that was the feature seen on previous geophys. On 23 May it looked like this from above:

There was an obvious difference in colour in a band across the centre of the trench. The photos below shows what it looked like yesterday:

The dark band was indeed a ditch and inside it there is a feature we are still trying to figure out. Although to my untutored eye it looks like the corner of a Belfast sink, Juliet tells me it is soft and made of clay. One theory is that long ago someone was climbing in the ditch and slid down, with his foot pushing forward a ridge of clay with his foot mark inside it - but we genuinely don't know at the moment. In this trench too the finds are relatively sparse - some CBM and pot fragments.

There have been some nice finds and here are two of my favourites. The first is the broken base of a small Romano-British glass jar, a lovely blue-green (teal) colour, found in the ditch in Trench Y and seen here from the side and from above:

Next we have a piece of a broken crotal bell that is probably mediaeval or later, found in the spoil by Barry, which would originally have been spherical and would probably have hung around the neck of a goat or sheep:

The most productive trench in terms of finds has undoubtedly been Trench W, and this is where most of the diggers have been working this week:

From the outset this trench has had quite a lot of CBM and pottery fragments in the upper ploughsoil layer and, now that we are below that, we are starting to see a burnt area in the centre of the trench. This is probably what showed up on the geophys and led to Juliet choosing this location. The drone photo taken of the western end of this trench at tea break this afternoon shows the 'burnt' area towards the right of the image:

In this area we are finding lots of slag from iron making. Just starting to appear and visible in the above photo at the top-right edge of the trench is an orange patch (seen close-up in a later photo in this blog entry). At the moment I am unclear whether this is degraded brick and tile or burnt clay.

These are the other latest drone images - starting with Trench V and its big ditch and what Liz says is a possible post hole:

Then this is how Trench Y looked at tea break, with some very black soil in the centre portion:

The following two images show an overview of the trenches and the pond from a height of 120 metres, and our group yesterday sitting outside the marquee at tea time enjoying a bit of spring sunshine while listening to the nearby cuckoo:

To finish today's update, here is a selection of some of my photos over the last two days of everyone (except the dig dog) hard at work:

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