A further report has been uploaded to the website, a Watching Brief at the Gardener’s Compound, Glastonbury Abbey, along with its appendices. The GAG08 report is the archive report describing the recovery of large quantities of medieval encaustic floor tile fragments found dumped in a boggy patch next to the gardeners’ workshop in the orchard. Included in this dump is a rare assemblage of over 50 sherds of Middle Iron Age pottery, analyzed by Elaine Morris, who believes they constitute a tightly dated pit assemblage. The pit from which the pottery was excavated has yet to be identified. Also included in the dump were large quantities of pottery dating from the Romano-British period to the post-medieval era. The only dating evidence were a Walker’s crisp bag and an aluminium milk bottle cap. It would appear that finds from the Abbey collection were used as hard core at some time in the 1970s.
We’re very proud to announce that we are adopting a new business model, becoming a registered worker’s co-operative to give our staff a role in shaping how the company operates. C. & N. Hollinrake is being acquired by Hollinrake Archaeology Co-Operative Ltd., trading as Hollinrake Archaeology. We are of course still offering the same services adhering to the same high standards.
A busy summer is beginning. Fieldwork is currently underway in Chew Magna, and work is underway writing up the excavations from 2011 and 2012 at Walpole landfill site. A new summary has been published online of the excavations in 2013 at Torr Quarry near Wanstrow.
This year, much of the summer has been spent on site at Walpole, where further prehistoric wooden structures have been discovered. Work is about to commence on cleaning and recording the individual wooden pieces, which include some of the largest we have found at the site, and our first Bronze Age structure. An article by Nancy and Matt about work on the site between 2001 and 2012 was featured in the September/ October issue of British Archaeology magazine.
Early in the summer, we hosted a work experience student from the Blue School in Wells, Ben Stitch. Ben writes a blog about his passion for fossils, and wrote a piece about his time with us.
Much of the summer has been spent on site at Walpole, where Matt and Arthur have been exploring the transition from prehistoric land surface to reed bed to the north of the former island; and Torr Quarry,where John has spent three months leading excavation of an area of 12th – 14th century activity related to iron smelting, and uncovered remains of hearths and associated buildings. Work is currently underway on post-excavation tasks from Torr Quarry and Walpole as well as a small watching brief in Bath.
At the end of August, Nancy was interviewed by the Scotsman about the discovery of Iron Age dwellings on the banks of a loch in Wigtownshire, which have been compared to the Glastonbury Lake Village. John has recently had a paper published in Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeology Society about the preserved rectilinear landscapes of Dorset; and Matt has published a paper in Internet Archaeology about bryozoans (a group of colony-forming marine and freshwater invertebrates) and their usefulness in archaeology. In August, Matt and Emma were also part of the Guerilla Archaeology team hosting archaeology-based activities at the Green Man music festival in south Wales.
Work has been continuing on the drawings and paperwork from the Walpole excavations last year. We have had the results of archaeobotanical analysis from a large pit on the site, as well as a report on the snail shells found in the pit – more on those soon. John has been writing up the report from a watching Brief at Somerton Care Home where a previously unknown stone quarry dating from the 17th century and associated structures were recorded, and was then on a watching brief at 11 West Street, Ilchester. This site lies immediately outside the west gate of the Roman town, alongside the Fosse Way Roman road. Evidence for Roman industrial activity was recorded as well as a series of parallel ditches and gullies containing early Roman pottery but on a completely different alignment to the Fosse. Post medieval features included roadside ditches, culverts and fences and the western edge of the 18th century turnpike built on the line of the Roman road.
This month,most of us have been busy with post-excavation work from the Walpole excavations in 2011 – 2012. Dave, Dawn, Owen and Jasmine have been working on digitising the many hundreds of field plans that were produced during the excavation. Some of our environmental samples from the site are also being analysed by our external specialists this month, and Arthur and Nici have been working on digitising other paper records. Arthur and Dawn have also been writing up some fieldwork from earlier this spring at Sidcot in North Somerset.
“The early part of April was spent working on the report for a pair of excavations undertaken by C & N Hollinrake in association with Peter Leach during 2004 and 2005 at the Romano-British small town at Fosse Lane, Shepton Mallet.
The excavations revealed evidence for three stone founded buildings of more than one phase and with internal subdivisions, each fronting on the Fosse and set within their own plots defined by boundary ditches and later by stone boundary walls. These plots also contained subsidiary structures, industrial features and post-roman hearths. Excavation was limited to recording the latest, uppermost archaeological layers, with deeper deposits being preserved in situ.
Initial work on the report has focussed on establishing a research agenda, pulling together site drawings and producing a methodological outline of the excavations.
The latter part of the month was spent on site conducting an archaeological watching brief during groundworks for the construction of a new care home at Behind Berry in Somerton. It had been thought that archaeological evidence for the medieval town might be preserved here; Behind Berry Road is thought to have originated as a back lane for burgage plots fronting on to an early East-West route running through the centre of medieval Somerton. Only a few medieval sherds were recovered however. Nevertheless, evidence for a previously unrecorded stone quarry dating from the 17th century was revealed, together with associated structures.
During May I will be completing the report for the watching brief at Somerton and then continuing to work on the Shepton Mallet report.”
You can read John’s brief summary of what was found at Somerton here.