21 Jul 2012

Festival of British Archaeology, Forty Hall, Day 5

trench 1

Today's sunshine was a welcome contrast to yesterday's weather and allowed us to make great progress both excavating and planning the main trench. The archaeology seems only to get more complex the more we reveal -- what looked like a brick surface emerging in the south-west corner yesterday turned out in fact to be a very substantial wall, running parallel to the smaller wall we first identified.

jaw bone

This wall has been heavily robbed out at the east end of the trench (which is why we did not identify it yesterday), and amongst the rubble in this area we recovered a large part of the jaw and several teeth from a small horse or possibly a donkey.

In the south east corner of the trench, a small extension revealed what looks like a third and possibly fourth wall. A further extension to the south revealed a potential fifth and the beginnings of a rich black layer that may indicate human habitation.

Precise interpretation of the various walls and surfaces is at the moment difficult, and complicated by the various pits cut through them as well as a noticeable lack of reliable dating evidence for any of the features. The best explanation for the various features so far is still an L shaped barn, maybe for threshing, and with labourers living at the east end.

Tomorrow is the last day of the dig: We can only hope that the dark "occupation" layer we touched on today produces some more decisive evidence.


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