Well I never…

Those of you with good memories will remember that wells were amongst the first features we identified when opening up our largest site way back in October.

Another year, another area and wells were once again right at the top of the archaeology, but this one is a little different. The Roman well we discussed previously was a square box well, made of stacked up timber boxes underneath a chalk cap.

A chalk-capped and timber-lined Roman well (c) MOLA 2012

A chalk-capped and timber-lined Roman well (c) MOLA 2012

This new one is round, and whilst the construction method is not as obvious, its no less interesting.

Barrell well with one stave

Barrel well with one stave

See the bands of wood running around the inside of the well shaft? These are the hoops that demonstrate that this well was once lined with timber barrels! Barrel-lined wells would have been much cheaper and faster to make than box wells: all you needed to do was dig a hole, stack up some barrels and knock the bottoms out.

These wells are fantastic for us, as they are the only way that complete barrels survive for us to find. They often have writing carved onto the outside of the staves, which can provide valuable information about the movement of goods.

Unfortunately for us this barrel was robbed out when the well fell out of use. Now, only one stave remains, but we will nevertheless remove it and send it off to be carefully cleaned and examined, in case any writing survives.

If you want to see some complete Roman barrels in person, just pop along to the Museum of London’s Roman gallery .

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One thought on “Well I never…

  1. Pingback: And so we face the final curtain…. | Walbrook Discovery Programme

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