When digging on a site, we trowel and we brush, we mattock at the ground and we shovel up the soil, and it can seem like not much progress is made until we stand up and look at what we have done. Or stand back and consider what everyone else has done.
Every day so far brings at least 20 volunteers, and that is an enormous contribution to the work that we need to do to reveal and understand the archaeology, with some of the remains just 10cm (4 inches) below the grass of the meadow at Eastcote House Gardens.
We are all so very busy in the meadow
Our main find is a building with low flint walls and a cobbled floor, probably rectangular in plan, which seems to have had a timber frame with boards on the outside walls and a tiled roof. We keep finding 19th century finds near the floor, so are beginning to wonder whether this building that is built in a medieval or 16th century style, stood until the 1800s, perhaps as a ruin.
What we have not been able to prove is the function of the building: what went on inside? No conclusions yet, but I think we can rule out a church, a cottage or a boathouse. We have pieces of possible horse harnesses and horseshoes, so perhaps it is a stable. Although, we have coal, clinker and slag, so may be a blacksmith’s?
We welcomed two classes from Coteford School today. For some of the pupils, this was their third visit, and it is super that the same volunteers come back, and remember what to do. The pupils worked in our Garden Archaeology trench, and we got everything ready before they arrived.
The trench is prepared for pupils. They are not invisible, they just haven’t arrived yet.