swag geo

In the photo S.W.A.G are shown doing the initial geophysical survey of the Russell Pipe kiln's location in Cripplegate Park. For over 50 years this bottlekiln had produced claysmoking pipes for local people (both men and women) to fill with tobacco. The manufacturer's name was even stamped on it. This site was well known, being positioned according old map close to other associated buildings as well as workers living quarters. 



roger explains

 The team receive a briefing

A team of volunteers, mostly from Northwag, were brought in to help out for a whole week by opening and excavting the three necessarytrenches. On the basis that the subterranean remains of the bottle kiln had been accurately located, after a quick briefing from Site Director Roger Moore, two targetted trenches were then dug to find the circular edge. Most of the first layers of each trench were filled with general building material, which was not surprising since the area had been flattened back in the 1960s. In the 1800s John Russell is believed to have built a row of 20 houses there (Russell Terrace) where many of the kiln’s workers lived. Even so, among these were found numerous pieces of pipe and other finds that according to our expert on hand, Malcolm, hinted at the definite presence of a former kiln.

what we are looking for

Roger Moore pointing to photo of similar kiln at Broseley Pipeworks in Shropshire

By Wednesday the work was only halfway through, so hopefully there will be an update about this exciting dig by our next newsletter.

lorry 1

Toy Sunbeam Car & Lorry uncovered by one of our metal detectorist Tina at the Orchards.


TP mod car




Eight members turned up today for another session to assist the Cathedral team in excavating the long courtyard drainage trench (as seen below). Although the infill is a combination of soil and CBM that's been mixed up over the years so that the contents are no longer in their original context (if ever they were), a variety of finds from the different eras have come to light, including bones, tiles, slag and pottery.


A northerly view of the trench.

According to Chris Guy, the archaeological site director, a known building once stood here and the particular area being worked above is the kitchen area, with the dining area located to the left of the photo. So perhaps it's not surprising that a number of animal bones have been found!


4 9 19 finds1

Two of the many items after cleaning.


southSince several stones at this end of the Trench were found arranged together with the remains of mortar between themthe possibility of  wall crossing the trench is now being investigated. 

posible wall1

Investigating the possibility a of wall.






For a change today's indoor activity consisted of several different aspects of finds processing. Usually the first one is to wash the finds, which Tina is seen doing below. Sometimes only when the dirt and mud is removed does it becomes obvious that what we previously thoughtwas a piece of pot was actually a piece of stone.  Or the scruffy looking object when cleaned up proves to be a little gem of a find!


Tina tina


After the finds have dried they are weighed (which is what Keith was doing below on the right) and this, along with the item's description and location on site, is recorded onto a database to be included in the final report. 


But today we went two stages further. Like last week, we separated more of the finds into material types for our expert to examine and, for the purposes of finally archiving, we also labelled up finds related to the reports that are nearing completion.  This process involves the use of a fine pen and black or white ink to write on the find itself a code that relates to the site where it first originated from. This enables it to be easily traced back to its source should it become separated at any stage from the rest of the collection. (The reader will have noticed similar writing on artefacts in museums.)