Community Dig 2014 – Day Two – Can anyone smell gas?

Well at the end of day two it was onwards and downwards! Trench Two, or the gassy trench, contained an abundance of broken and burnt brick in a very dark deposit. With a sporadic whiff of gas between trowels we began to wonder if we had left the camp stove burning. However, it was in fact the remains of an old gas works that used to sit on the playing field. Contained in this dark material were also lumps of slag (waste metal) showing the industrial part of the site.

Over in Trench One (by the wall) we kept dreaming of castles, Cairns and Bronze Age burials. We saw walls and circular features everywhere, were they really there or had we got trench fever? A well-known medical condition amongst archaeologists, it can strike at any moment. It is usually caused by staring at a feature, i.e. stones, for too long, causing the mind to create archaeological fantasies. There is only one cure once trench fever has set in. Tea. So we stopped for a brew and a biscuit (Bourbon Creams today).

We decided that the only way to see if these stones formed any feature was to drop a section into the trench to look at them in profile. This is what you can see today, a line of string showing the edge of the section and me mattocking away to clear the soil.

Julia has a circular feature which we are trying to convince Roy (the boss) is in fact a feature and not just more random stones. There were some great finds courtesy of Julia’s eagle eyes, a piece of Roman mosaic and possibly a very worn fragment of Roman pottery, grey in colour with large inclusions in the clay, possibly Oxfordshire ware.

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