Back again at Eastcote, This is the first blog of the year after the fourth day.
In The Beginning
We are digging again at Eastcote, with a host of volunteers. We have four trenches this year, looking for different things, from the medieval period onwards. We have found a lot of remains already, and lots of finds, from broken cooking pots to a 1p coin from 1980.
We have excavated ten areas over the last three dig seasons, so this year it’s Trenches 11-14.
Trench 11. We are looking for the remains of the service areas of the demolished Eastcote House, maybe kitchen and scullery areas, and we have 18th century wall foundations, areas of floor and evidence of floors being taken away when the rooms were knocked down. As usual, we have bits of the building that we do not immediately understand: there is a wall at a different angle to everything else…there may be evidence for an older building, perhaps of medieval date.
Trench 11, Overcast, but lots of foundations have been revealed.
Trench 12. This trench is located across the side of Eastcote House, where the service buildings joined it. We have found a basement, perhaps a food store, with window openings in one wall and tons of rubble from the demolition. Not much in the way of architectural remains here, but this was the service rooms, not the rich part. We have, again, another wall of a different angle, and this could be part of an earlier building, perhaps the same one as in Trench 11.
Trench 13. Trench 13 is a deep trench, our previous excavations showed that when Eastcote house was built in the 17th century, the ground was made level, and the old land surface towards the river was buried under all the soils that were scraped off. So, we are removing that to find the earlier horizons. We already have a dozen pieces of medieval pottery, and are expecting lots more.
Trench 14. Our geophysics survey from 2012 showed some signals in a field near the dovecote, so we have excavated a trench to find out what that signals represented. We think we have found the remains of another building, close to the River Pinn. We don’t know what it is yet, but that is the nature of archaeology. There are medieval pottery fragments in the soil near it, but there is also a late 19th century ceramic plaque from a urinal, advising the user to lift the lid. We think that the plaque and the wall are not contemporary.
We have had up to 24 volunteers at one time so far, and even had double figures today, despite the rain. It will be dry tomorrow, so, onwards and downwards.