The Hanwell Park Project
JUNE 2013 - RETURN TO GOOSE ISLAND
The first week of June was
glorious and we did no work at all at Hanwell on account of playing
host to a group of morris dancers - Maroon Bells
- from Colorado, strange but true. Once back on site it was to find
that work was considerably advanced in the building programme at the
castle and part of the early twentieth-century block was pretty well
demolished. It also appears that we have had our first attack of
vandalism as some bright sparks went around uprooting three of our
white peg fixed points. Oddly enough it was far easier to reinstate the
pegs with a few blows of the mallet than it must have been to wrestle
them out from the ground in the first place, still an unsettling
Demolition of a fixed point.
Canadian Geese and their brood are now pretty mobile so I'm happy
to return to the island to recommence work, however, there is still
plenty to do in the vicinity of the 'sluice'. There's more rubble
to remove but the end does appear to be in sight and we do at last
seem to have left the twentieth century behind with the current crop of
finds dating from the eighteenth century or earlier.
The family out grazing Peter out examining a large chuck of iron, possibly a patten.
you can see from the photo of the dig above one of our on-going issues
is keeping the site clean from the continuing showers of blossom that
rain down upon our heads - there are worse problems to confront it is
true so here on a more positive note is the pink carpet of blossom on
the car park from the nearby horse chestnuts. Further
recording and removal of rubble has carried us deeper and deeper
downstream from the walling. These lower rubble deposits seem to
contain more in the way of finds from earlier centuries largely I
suspect from the eighteenth century. Finally we appear to have hit
bottom, at least as far a stone structures are concerned. An
expectation that the lower levels of the channel would consist of
deposits of thick black sticky mud have not been fulfilled. indeed, it
looks very much as if water flowed briskly into the channel, a supply
which was suddenly cut off before partially filling in the channel
without any intermediate period of stagnation.
Mike really does think he's reached the bottom...
and here's the view of the full height of the walling, the only question now is, "What is it?"
the upstream side what originally appeared to be another dump of rubble
now looks like a revetment for a bank considerably narrower than the
existing dam, curious, and up on the level ground to the north of the
channel the curious lesser ditch which runs parallel to the main
channel is so far proving to be rather lacking in interest.
Archaeologists tend to like ditches with their endless capacity for
accommodating rubbish. So far this one is really quite clean with
a few fragments of clay pipe stem and some seventeen or eighteenth
as we like to call it, revetting the bank to the south.
This is a very
As the month drew to a close the channel
east of the wall had been pretty well emptied of rubble and we were
beginning to see the appearance of what may have been the primary
silting laid down during the final phase of use, whatever that use may
have been and personally I'm beginning to suspect cascade. Amongst one
of the last pieces of rubble to be lifted was this fine piece of
moulding. It's rounded profile makes it quite different to any
architectural fragments recorded to date. I really must take a long
hard look at the surviving mouldings on the surviving bit of the
castle. One issue that bedevils archaeologists across the world is the
siting of spoil heaps and practically everyone will tell tales of
discovering that the pile of dirt had been sited one the one spot it
turned out really needed to be dug so the whole thing had to be
shifted... by hand. Well at the moment much of our spoil is going down
the valley and to keep it tidy as the heap has risen so has the
retaining wall we've built with the loose rubble.
the plank has a whole new meaning.
Architectural fragment, looks
medieval, I mean really medieval.
has been a bit of a build up of finds awaiting processing over the past
few weeks largely because I've been waiting for a day when it has been
warm enough to set up outside and splash water around with a hosepipe,
how many of those have we had? Well the last day of the month, Sunday
30th. proved ideal. And finally in response to the vandalism
reported earlier in the
month we have been forced to invest in some high-end security... honestly...
ever complain about having to do the washing up.
You are being watched courtesy of BIG
BROTHER SECURITY Inc.