due to start until Monday August 27th. but we did pop down on the
Wednesday to relocate the electric fence from the top of the hill, so
Richard and Stephen could get the grass cut on Friday morning. We
applied to the National Trust
to be allowed to extend the planned trench from 4 metres to 6 metres in
to get a useful section across the earthworks and permission was
granted so we could mark out an appropriate area once the grass was
cut. The trench was designed to determine the nature of the moated
site identified in the valley bottom - medieval moated manor or
garden feature? Well we should know by the end of the week.
The forecast for Monday was dreadful but
then it is an August Bank Holiday so what do you expect?
All fenced off and ready to go again.Friday August 24th. - the grass is cut and the setting out done.
You can see coverage of the whole day on Chris's web pages here
Tuesday August 28th.
fine day for digging except we didn't - not until at least lunchtime.
The excellent progress made yesterday meant we had to spend the morning
in recording it all - plans, sections and context forms. Once that was
out of the way we started clearing the rubble from around the wall
running somewhat anomalously down the middle of the trench. It now
stands three, admittedly shallow, courses high but still no sign of an
associated floor surface on the east side. Meanwhile down in the moat,
or the pit as we call it, clearing down onto an enormous deposit of
burnt stone with some heavy duty clay tiles has revealed the presence
of what may be a drain running along east to west.
A.M. It's like working in an office, everybody recording... P.M. the digging begins again, the cows remain indifferent. Thursday August 30th.
effect, the last day's digging with efforts concentrating on further
elucidation of exactly what's going on with the wall/revetment edging
the moat and also on taking out some more of the rubble fill from the
moat itself and examining the cut, fill and fine pipework of a
nineteenth century drain - yes we do get excited about that kind of
thing! This was coupled with some intensive section and elevation
drawing. The evening was also busy with the site being open from 6.00
to 8.00 and once again we were delighted to see of number of interested
parties from the village and from the Warmington Heritage Group. It was
particularly pleasing to welcome Alastair Muir-Beddall, one of the
present occupants of the hall, to the dig.
It became quite hard to fit everyone in... but we did have loads of section drawing to do. Friday August 31st.
last day of digging and once again we had had to field loads of
questions about why we weren't carrying on, going deeper, opening up a
larger area, and so on. We explained not only the limited aims of our
small scale evaluation dig but also the financial and logistical
consequences of excavating a much larger area. So the day began with a
massive clean up for our final series of photographs. Once that was
complete we continued downwards desperately seeking some nice muddy
sediments deposited in the moat. As it happened all we found was an
increasing depth of rubble brought in to fill the the moat and the
water table. After lunch we shared the toughest task of the whole week
- putting it all back. The team worked heroically all afternoon until
all the dirt was back in the hole (more or less) and all the turf was
relaid (more or less) and that was it except for a celebratory,
congratulatory dinner for all our energetic and enthusiastic diggers to
whom a million thanks.