On this damp, cloudy but pleasant autumn day the two teams (4 in am and 5 in pm) spent some time just tidying up the site to make it neat and secure.

Tina had brought along her metal detector so she went over the area in front of R05 (the Mill cottage living room). Little excavation had been done here and today she unearthed quite a lot of metal and guttering, which is logical given its location below what would have originally been the edge of the roof. There was also a horseshoe found, a large one and possibly from a carthorse.

Meanwhile other members continued to sieve the spoil heap finding items like bone, glass, leather and metal.

Tony Symonds, the landowner, came by later and chatted to Francesca. As a result he kindly agreed to let us continue in future our metal detecting in the vicinity, but extend it more further afield.  Should be interesting!

We were back out in the field today, and on a new site called Hillgrove. Thankfully the weather, which has been awful this month, was good and the rain kept off. Situated near Holt, it belongs to a friend of Ian Roger’s who has kindly let us to do some test-pitting in what is now his garden but was formerly an orchard. It is located not far from a known Romano-British site that was excavated back in 2020, so the owners are hoping similar evidence might be found here.

The field, triangular in shape and sloping steeply northwards, has a well and several springs dotted around it. The mother of Paul the owner recalled Willow or ‘osier’ rods (withies) used in basket making, being grown by the stream at the lower level, which provided us with a nice piece of social history.

Last week Ian and Keith started Test-pit T01, which is sited on the higher ground, and this week they continued on down with it, recording everything on they way until, in Context 4, they found evidence of burning (charcoal) on the clay. Test-pit T02 was started by Sam and Margaret lower down, finding only evidence of a scattering of stones on Context 3 along with a small amount of coal and charcoal and a thin piece of old Tobacco Pipe.

Meanwhile Terry did a survey of the site to look for other potential test-pits areas, while Tina unearthed some interesting metal finds with her metal detector.

A dry day was spent on site, although the round was damp from recent rain. More soil was removed and sieved from the spoil heap in the loading bay yielding bone, metal objects, plaster, pottery and more gun cartridges.

Sam continued on in Anteroom with Test pit 5, going down through compacted sandy soil to discover a nice piece of slipware covering a hole in the North West corner. He continued down with a sondage and found it filled with loose bricks.

Margaret completed drawing the plan view of the trench on the Walkway with its drainage channel beneath the edge of a row of mortared roof tiles which now proves that the roof continued all the way along.

The season is nowdrawing to a close and there cannot be many more weeks left working here. It has been a very enjoyable site to work on and we are always deeply indebted to Tony Symonds, the land owner, for allowing us to continue excavating it over the years. 

Wednesday 2nd June 2021

It was a very hot day at Hillgrove where our team was keen to continue with the Test-pits that were already open.

Ian and Keith worked in Testpit 1, located at the higher end of the field near a sunken road, and were fortunate enough to be in the shade of some coppiced trees. By the end of the day this Test-pit was taken down to context 004, a solid base of damp clay that had no more finds in it but more of the burnt charcoaled remains. A large lump of concrete was also found in 003 suggesting that the ground hereabouts had been disturbed within recent decades.  Like Test-pit2 there was also a layer of pebbles and a few bits of pottery and glass, found as a result of sieving. This was then photographed and the sections drawn, ready for back-filling in next week.

Further down the slope T2 was continued by Sam and Roger, who had led the recent Pipe Factory excavations in Worcester. T2 was taken down to 003 where, just like in the other Test-pit, they too hit solid clay. Even so, after Tina’s help with the sieving, they discovered some small finds and amongst them was a scrap of flint that captured everyone’s interest. This will need to be examined in the future by an expert at WAAS for dating.

Terry used the strimmer on the long grass ready for another Test-pit to be opened next week, which was very hot work! Chris and Francesca also popped in this week. The latter told us about all the research she had done so far on the history of the site and its surrounding area, which was of particular interest to the owners of course and added to what they already knew.