See photographs on Flickr
Click here to read project volunteer and artist Nick Hedges observations on Bartlemas Chapel.
Well, that’s me finished; I’ve got things to do so I’m having to miss out on the last two days of the dig – let’s hope someone will pick up where I leave off.
29 October - End of a wonderful week
We had an excellent day - originally meant to be the last day of the dig but with so much exciting stuff showing up, we have extended for another week. A lovely autumn day (an improvement on soggy Thursday). The digger driver who was in to dig a pipe trench for the chapel drainage said he had never been on an archaeological site which was producing so much interest! (he has been on a few apparently). Last wednesday a group of archaeological scientists from the Oxford Research Lab for Archaeology came to visit the site and will be returning next wednesday to take samples for radiocarbon dating etc. http://www.arch.ox.ac.uk/rlaha.html. Superb work by the volunteers was celebrated with a drink of finest English ale in the Magdalen Arms after work. Well done folks!
Strange feel to the dig now as we start to close down; parts are still scenes of feverish activity as we try to wring the last bit of evidence from the soil while other areas are oddly quiet as the decision has been made to stop work and record what we’ve done.
20th and 21st October Yay! After a bout of illness I am back on site! I have really missed being away but it is great to be back with the team and to see what they have uncovered. As you have been reading in the previous blog posts, they have been working really hard and there have been a lot of developments since I was last on site - too many for me to mention in full here. The most noticeable change when you arrive is the evidence of earlier structures both at the base of the existing chapel and in trenches two and three. For the past two days I have been working in trench two trying to get a clearer idea of the position of one of these structures. The ground has been quite tough to work on as it's quite compact but all of the elbow grease has been worth it so far - it's been exciting and intriguing to uncover it piece by piece (or should I say stone by stone). Alongside the structural evidence there were a few finds- a few sherds of pottery, some glass and what could be some floor tile. As Leigh mentioned, alongside the physical digging side of the work there is the practical paper based side too. So each day, I log what I have found in the trench file on the relevant sheet (each sector of the trench has a unique number and a record to correspond with it). Today I also assisted Leigh with the logging, bagging and labelling of a small find - an iron object which was found by Steve towards the end of the day. It was a good test for my memory after being away for a while but between us we dotted all the i's and crossed all the t's and handed the find to Gill who has been doing a grand job as Finds Supervisor. All in all, it's like I've never been away (with the exception of the change in weather, no ice cream runs this week!) and it's been great. I am back again tomorrow, so until then...
Saturday 15 Oct 2011
Friday 14 October
Beautiful weather for digging. More medieval pottery being discovered now and further evidence for buildings preceeding the present Chapel and the use of land around the Chapel. The digging and finds team are continuing to do an excellent job and their hard work is being rewarded by exciting finds. Rosie the apple-eating dog helps us by digging litttle holes in the rough near the trenches.
Don't forget we are digging both days this weekend and Tuesday-Friday next week.
The digging goes on, new finds coming in (a cluster of large animal bones on the north side of the chapel among others) but no new revelations today.
Thursday 13 October
Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 October - Open Days
We are now turning up evidence for the known civil war activity around the chapel, with musket balls, clay smoking pipes, and the remains of Bellarmine jugs dating from that period, being discovered daily. A number of these finds were on display in the chapel. We also had a poster display prepared by volunteer Graham Jones. If you were unable to visit the site, or would like to read them again they are now available by clicking on the links below.
Thank you to the team and to all our visitors for helping to make the days such a success.
Just as we were closing the dig for the day Pam, who was excavating in the north of the chapel spotted a piece of worked stone lembedded within the limestone rubble around the chapel, probably a decorative moulding from an earlier phase of the building. We are now beginning to uncover more information about the construction of the foundations of the chapel which is raising a number of interesting questions.
Thursday 29 September
We have been busy shopping for supplies and moving kit in preparation for the excavation, which starts fully on Monday. This evening we had our preparation meeting at the Ark T centre for all our volunteers, and it was really good to see so many enthusiastic people, who are just as excited as we are about the excavation.