Group J – 8 May 2012

After being split into two groups at the end of the previous week, we set about working on two different trenches. Four of us began work on excavating what had previously been regarded as a long barrow; however suspicions arose that it was in fact post medieval, due to the strange marks it made on the earth, visible through aerial photography and on the ground. It resembled more of a rectangular structure than a prehistoric long barrow. Group J was assigned to excavate a corner of this strange feature, and on Monday, after it had been de-turfed, we began to mattock away the rocks that made up the mounds. The rocks that were removed were not the kind of material one expects to find in a long barrow, so the hypothesis as to the purpose of the feature had to be adjusted, and a post-medieval structure seemed more likely.

Tuesday involved removing the last of the rocks present in our trench, and in the process we uncovered one or two small flints. After clearing the trench of rubble, we began to clean, and discovered a layer of grey clay which indicates the presence of iron. We also found what we believe to be the remains of the turf layer in the stratigraphy, which would indicate that whatever was built upon the ground was done so directly on top of the turf, which may be evidence that it was once a dry-stone wall, possibly as part of a larger structure. However, at the end of Tuesday we are still unclear as to the purpose of the structure (if it even was one), and it has been suggested to make a cut into the trench to uncover anything we may have missed deeper down in the stratigraphy. So, while we may have disproved a 100 year old theory as to the type of feature present, we are yet to gain enough evidence ourselves.

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