After a slow start on Monday due to the rain, we eventually cleared all the wet mud and water from the holes and the excavation continued. In most of the site, large dump layers were being removed. A lot of these were Roman ‘make up’ or levelling layers. Some of the dumps were areas where debris, or rubbish, had been spread about. In the centre of the site was a series of stone wall foundations, around which was a layer of rubble, tile and building material likely to have originated from the demolition of the building.
Elsewhere on the site a very nice Roman well was being excavated, with a number of phases: it was first constructed of timber and then later a chalk lining was added. This well was backfilled after it had gone out of use; this fill produced many great finds including a little copper mount which some on site think is a representation of Bacchus!
The middle of the week saw better weather and the archaeology ever-increasing in interest and complexity! As the dump layers were removed large pits were revealed, likely to have been filled with rubbish. Many nice finds were being uncovered, including a lovely little copper knife handle and a number of Roman coins. Additionally a very fragile wooden fence line was exposed… unfortunately this did not survive the harsh weather at the end of the week and on Friday was found collapsed. But fear not! It had of course been fully recorded before hand, with plans and photographs and would have been dismantled by archaeologists anyway.
Also on site, two separate Roman timber drains were uncovered, and both were curiously within the foundations of later chalk walls. They lie far down in the stratigraphy so have been covered with plastic for now to preserve them, but the archaeologists are itching to dig them!
The building in the centre of the site was also excavated further, uncovering more of the Roman stone walls running east-west, and what appears to be a smaller internal wall made of tile and brick earth. ‘Inside’ the building there appears to be a sequence of floor layers and surfaces, including a tessellated floor. ‘Outside’ the building there appears to be the remains of a tiled surface. There were two kilns on top of this surface that were removed a few weeks ago, suggesting some kind of industry happening in the backyard!
The end of the week saw the final parts of the site being cleared of concrete by machine, with it ready to be cleaned up by hand by archaeologists next week. Let’s see what excitement this coming week brings…