Final day & it was spent backfilling the trenches – many thanks to Pam, Mike, Fiona, Steven, Idris, & Rhiannon for their help. The image above is the filled T2 & the series of images are of the various stages of backfilling T1.
Few little things to ask those of you who attended – 1) someone has left their trowel behind; 2) someone has wandered off with one of ours in error (red & black tape); 3) someone has left their brush behind – such things are easy today when tired at the end of the day, especially if one’s mind is on other things. Anyway, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the little fellow below.
As you can see below we ended up with a bit Victoriana & Georgiana. We still have the post excavation to do & this will be done as a training event. Its a bit like doing a dozen jigsaws at once, with loads of bits missing.
There were a few nice finds made in the course of backfilling. I’m going to leave it to you gentle reader to cast your votes for the final Find Of The Day by making a comment below or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add the result later. Vote by listing the number of the finds in descending order of preference. For your edification: 1 is a sherd of an imitation Etruscan ware teapot, probably Victorian; 2 is part of a Victorian decorated pipe bowl; 3 is a fragment of Victorian Cranberry glass.
Any questions about anything to do with the dig or the groups activities, please email the above address or come along to one of our events.
Many thanks to all those who helped make the dig what it was & to those of you wise enough to join Pendle Heritage we have the post excavation & the report writing to look forward too. There will also be mid week walks to help the new members (& older if they want) to understand the wider context of the dig they participated in. The dig has been part of the Pendle’s Hidden Valley Project (details elswhere on the site) and the next event that is part of that is a field walk on the 25th of June.
Final full day of digging today, we were a small but perfectly formed crew, and the sun continued to shine upon the righteous. Before we started digging I took some photos (header image & below) of some of the artificial looking shapes that the sandstone off the site splits into naturally.
Trench 2 was left to its own devices today. It got some attention at the end of the day when we took some pictures of it – see below. The ‘butterflies’ are marking the interfaces of the different contexts.
Trench 1 received the same attention – see below. All the digging took part in T1. We took the sondage down to 1300mm and its still deposited material. At about 1100mm and below there was some gritty water washed material & thin lenses of grey clay. These continued down for another 150mm then voids started appearing again. At this lowest level we are getting small bits of burnt material. From about 800mm the stones started becoming more massive too. Two of the three oddly shaped stones in the images at the start are from this level.
Meanwhile in Pet Sematary, the dog burials continued to be excavated & finally Find of the Day went to some not on their first day. The dog bones have been an ideal opportunity to teach some of our excellent new recruits a few of the more technical points about lifting soft bone. The Find of the Day (see below) was the also the final find of the day and it was a team effort to lift it. As you can see – the dogs back!
Most of the bone has been reinterred where it was found. We will hold the skulls for a short while but if we cannot get funds to preserve them they will go back too.
Final day tomorrow & its backfilling – good therapeutic stuff & much easier when shared so please come along in the morning to help if you can. Trench 2 will be the last to be backfilled so you can have a last minute dig if you want. I predict Find Of The Day will come from the spoil. Anyone who helps with the backfilling can take a small memento of the dig home with them.
Heartfelt thanks to all of you who came and joined us – we hope you enjoyed it & possibly even learned a little about the secrets of Pendle’s Hidden Valley.
Today the weather was scorchio! And there were plenty of people out to dig under little fluffy clouds (header image & below).
Things were happening in both trenches today & our trainees are learning fast. Trench 2 has had the slab lined feature cleaned up (see above – & below with approximate alignment of the slab line structure marked by the ranging rods on the ground) and removed.
The new context (3) has been lowered & levelled (see below). There are very few finds in this context – just one in fact, a pancheon sherd.
Context 3 in Trench 1 continues downward (see section photo above). The nature of the context and depth means it is no longer a place for beginners. The rest of T1 is still fine and progress through Context 1 has slowed due the amount of bone now being found. The upside of this is that it has afforded the opportunity for people to learn how to excavate & lift fragile bone. Made up a few more doggy bags to take home today. One containing half a leg & the other a skull (see below).
Find of the day was voted on in the end and went (obviously) to another debutante – its a rather sweet little ceramic applied vessel decoration in the form of an acanthus leaf.
One more full day of digging left then backfilling Sunday – all help gratefully appreciated.
The weather played another blinder today. On the way to the site today I mused that for the last three days the Find Of The Day had been won by people on the first day of their first dig. Yet by early afternoon it looked to be going to a particularly nice sherd of Staffordshire Combed & Trailed Ware (c1675 to c1770 AD), from Trench 2, found by someone on their second day. More of that later.
In Trench 2 today they bottomed out Context 2. This has confirmed that the slab question mark found previously is actually a structure And most of it is resting on the top of Context 3. The bigger slab toward the centre was originally a roof set with the downward side now pointing upward. Views of the structure in the images above & below
Meanwhile back in Trench 1…..we removed most of Context 2 and delved into Context 3. This contains a myriad of jumbled sandstone from pebbles to good sized rocks with a lot of voids and a small amount of brown/orange soil similar to that in Context 2.
In the afternoon one of our younger volunteers was clearing back to the top of Context 2 in Trench 1. About an hour before we finished she found a lovely little rim sherd of a hand painted square jar with recessed lid (it sat on the lip to the left & was kept in place by the rim to the right – see pic below) – probably C18 and English but there is a very slim chance it could be earlier & Dutch or Chinese (see the header image as well). Surreally enough she was digging at a proper excavation for the first time……spooky eh?
Another vigorously breezy yet sunny day with lots of enthusiastic diggers helping out.
Trench 2 has revealed what may be the first proper structure (not counting the pet cairn in T1). If you look in the photo above its the top of the question mark. Two slabs have apparently been set on end and packed into place with smaller more rounded stones. It is quite possible that this represents reinforcement of a more temporary structure – possibly an attempt to fox/mustelid proof a chicken pen.
Competition for find of the day was between two things found in Trench 1 & by the same person. The rather sorry recycled copper alloy band above was the likely winner for the first part of the day. This was superceded by the discovery of the object in the header image – and no its not a fire baked spud. The top of a skull was revealed. I took over its excavation so that we had a chance of getting it lifted safely by close of play. This was managed and its now ensconced in its spud disguise. The picture below shows it during excavation. It had been underground for at least a century before we disturbed its rest. It would make a great display in the Heritage Centre museum but that is unlikely unless funds are donated for is stabilisation & preservation.
Elsewhere in Trench 1, more of context 2 was removed (see below). This is now nearly as deep as context 1 (topsoil) and is full of voids, not orange soil, between the stones. I am beginning to suspect it may have to become a new context.
If you want to have a wee delve into Pendle’s secrets, come and join us. The trenches will remain active until the weekend. You could even help pick a name for the piecemeal pooch.
It was a bit of a wild start to the day – the fertilizer sack I was a using as a toboggan (whilst waiting for the others) on the steep slope of the dam wall kept trying to blow away. However once on site we were nicely sheltered and above the gods tried to come to get their heads around how to play noughts & crosses (see above).
We opened a second trench on a lower platform. The top soil here was very thin and the first proper context (Context 2 T2) (see below) was similar to that of Trench 1 but the type of stones are more random & the soil is much like the top soil.
From here the pick of today’s finds came including two sherds of trailed & combed, two sherds from a child’s rhyme or motto cup, a sherd with EMPLE on it, & the find of the day. This last (pictured below) was a stylus used on a writing slate.
And finally back in Trench 1 (T1) we continued down into context 2 – of the meagre number of finds the most significant was a small rounded pebble of sandstone that had been very heavily heat effected. As you can see in the end section below this context is also quite thick – what lies below?? Why was this material placed there? Come along & find out – see you there?
We were joined today by some budding future diggers who all produced some interesting stuff. Find of the day went to a rather sweet little suspended weight (top row 2cnd right in the pic below) – possibly from a clock. More Victoriana today, including some more cranberry glass, part of a commerative tankard, & a complete glass stopper. Some bones were also found associated with a small pile of stones. They appear to be from a pet lamb or puppy. In the bottom left of the picture are three sherds that date to the late eighteenth century. The average age of objects at this lower level is older though small pieces of early twentieth century pot are still present (probably due to worm/mole activity).
Today trench was extended east by 500mm but at the west end the direction was down. The image below shows the top of Context 2 (the first one below the rather deep top soil) before excavation started on it.
As you can see in the one spot near the section wall – the material between the myriad pieces of flat sandstone is an orange colour. The lie of the stones prove this layer is not natural but so far the context has been rather sterile. The header image shows the sum total of finds from this strata so far. The slipware is a sufficiently large sherd to allow to presume it was probably contemporary with the surrounding material. It probably dates to the 1600s. This is about the time that stone buildings were erected in the settlement.
Target tomorrow is to find context 3 – we may also open a new trench over a tantalising pile of stones – come on up & have a dig or a look – the views are still fantastic.
The sun warmed us today we continued clearing back to the context discovered at the end of yesterday. We were joined by a few debutant diggers both young & older (see below).
One of our young diggers found our largest piece of metal to date. Its a …. thing.
While the rate of finds has slowed we have been adding to our own Monte Testaccio (see above) and have found a tiny but pretty piece of Staffordshire Combed & Trailed Ware. Dating to between c1675 and c1770 AD, this is our oldest artefact from the trench so far, and was flash stuff in its day. Hopefully tomorrow will take us another century or two back in time. Hope to see you there.
Broke the ground on the new dig today – loads of Victorian pot in the top soil – down to our first proper context by day end. The dig will be open until next weekend 10:30 am to 3 pm (at least) each day (unless overly inclement). So please feel free to wander along for visit or dig if you have some spare time. The view from the trench is pretty good too.
As you can see from the header picture the top soil is very deep – the photo below is a closer view of the first proper context. Come & join us tomorrow to see what lies beneath.
Well the kiln dig is finished – well the digging stuff out bit is.
In classic archaeological fashion things revealed themselves as we ran out of time. However what we have found is the bowl & flue from the last firing (see pics), charcoal (hopefully dateable), and a tiny sherd of gritty ware pottery which probably isn’t contemporary.
After wind, sleet, hail & snow, our last two days on site were beneath sky like this (from the morning of the last day)
We have about 10 more days to finish the kiln dig & things are hotting up (relatively speaking).
The wall structure (above) seems to have been repaired at least twice. Note colour of the infill either side of the feature. We have lifted a lump of charcoal (below) from the reddish material.
We will be digging every day the weather is reasonable (on site approx 10:45 to 14:00 hours) but please check via email the day before if you want to know if someone will be on site.
Welcome to the first Pendle’s Hidden Valley blog of 2016. The first fieldwalk – around Admergill (thank you Brian & Richard) – takes place this Saturday & we have already been digging up at the Craggs kiln site. Behind the scenes things have been happening too. Lynn H has been doing sterling work raising funds & working with David T and others on a database. Gayle & Janet have been trawling the reference libraries for clues. Paul & I have been doing mid week forays with Dot the chert hound into the hills while the vegetation is down. Now back to the dig. In the last week we have joined the top & middle trenches. As usual no questions have been answered yet but more have been raised. We have made a few interesting discoveries.
Firstly the wall above – 3 courses deep so far & 5 pieces of charcoal recovered. Secondly another wall (2) – pictured below – where another piece of charcoal was found. This takes the total tally so far to 8. Thanks to a generous grant from the Robert Kiln Trust we will be able to submit some of these for C14 dating.
Finally, near close of play today – we uncovered what appears to be a heel impression (below) in a clump of clay fill between the two walls. The second of the two pictures below shows the impression clumsily outlined in yellow. It would appear to be from a right foot, 50mm across (my size 10 is 65mm in the corresponding place), and either a bare foot or one with an item close fitting footwear. There is a series of lines in the impressed material. Given that this later group of charcoal pieces come from above this heel print we may have discovered Pendle’s oldest human footprint so far.
If you want to join us in any capacity please contact us. We will be onsite at the kiln for another week (at the whim of the weather) after which it will have to be back filled. There will be further digs this year at Craggs, mostly near the site of Great Craggs (a far less strenuous walk in) and there will be a week long excavation at the end of May and into June. No experience is necessary as we can give you training on site (non digging roles are available – and essential). Don’t be shy and keep an eye on the events calendar. Alex Whitlock 21 April 2016
Heritage Open Gardens and Strawberry Tea Archaeology Dig – 20 June 2015
The forecast was wrong – the sun arrived just after 4pm, when I was trying to type this with one hand desensitised by at least three hits of nasty Nelly the nettle. Aah the hazards of extreme archaeology.
A few months ago the archaeology group were invited to do a dig as part of Heritage Open Gardens and Strawberry Tea day. We eventually plumped for a trench over the possible course of the local stream before it was diverted around the walled garden. When we initially saw the site it seemed open & friendly – the greener photo shows what greeted us on the day. We cleared a path into the primordial vegetation then chopped out a clearing (ouch ouch ouch) and opened a 1 metre square trench. Continue reading “Open Gardens Archaeology Dig – 20 June 2015”
Our most recent excavation took place over 2 days in May at an altitude of approximately 1000 feet. The purpose was to determine the construction method of the old bank & ditch features that divide parts of the site. Pre-dig analysis had determined the features to be at least 300 years old, this figure has been shifted back at least another few centuries as a result of the dig. Thought he site yielded no finds per se, the dig revealed considerable care had gone into the building of the excavated feature, so much so that we are now having to re-evaluate its significance. Further research is now underway, looking in particular for parallels in other upland areas of Britain. It is too early to do anything other than speculate but there are strong indications that there may once have been crop rearing on this wind blasted site. Hard to believe given how exposed the area now appears. One might argue that the views are beautiful and ample reward in themselves.