Sixty Eighth Dig Day – Friday 20th December 2013

Looking NE at terracotta floor in N room of cottage

Looking NE at terracotta floor in N room of cottage.

Friday turned out to be a really beautiful sunny day, following some very heavy overnight rain, which resulted in the cottage’s beautiful terracotta floor tiles looking at their very, very best!

Looking NE at Newmarket Farm Cottage

Looking NE at Newmarket Farm Cottage

The site as a whole was able to be photographed looking incredibly shiny & clean.

 

Looking E at front garden gateway

Looking E at front garden gateway.

The ongoing one metre square being excavated over the north-east of the front garden gateway was at last completely excavated and cleaned up. We had hoped it would be uninteresting and so quick and easy to excavate – but how wrong we were – it became one of the most exciting of the dig! We had found an in-situ midden, on the down-slope side of the entrance, and full of exciting finds.

Partial section through top of midden deposit

Partial section through top of midden deposit

It’s slightly compacted upper surface was characterised in places by a layer of pale yellow-ish brown burnt soil. The midden fill showed many signs of burning – including char-staining on some ceramic shards – though the heat had not been that intense, for the fill contained several pieces of unburnt coal and charcoal.

Finds included:

Finds from 1x1m grid square over NE part of front garden gateway

Finds from 1 x 1m grid square over NE part of front garden gateway.

These included;

  • Blue and white marble

    Blue and white marble

    Our first blue and white child’s marble;

  • Large shards of a small decorated plate

    Large shards of a small decorated plate

    Several large shards of a red flower patterned small plate;

  • Large whelk shell

    Large whelk shell

    Two whelk and two winkle shells;

  • Silver plated 'fiddle back' salt/sauce spoon

    Silver plated ‘fiddle back’ salt/sauce spoon

    Silver plated 'fiddle back' salt/sauce spoon

    Silver plated ‘fiddle back’ salt/sauce spoon

    Marks on silver plated salt/sauce spoon

    Marks on silver plated salt/sauce spoon

    A silver plated ‘fiddle back’ design salt/sauce spoon with 6 date/factory marks (though as yet illegible) – this design may date from the Georgian period onwards – we need to find out the best way of cleaning the marks of their deeply ingrained crud, without damaging the fabric of the spoon;

  • 'Guiness is good for you' ashtray

    ‘Guinness is good for you’ ashtray

    Guiness ashtray

    Guinness ashtray

    Some large fragments of a post 1920’s ‘Guinness is good for you’ pub ashtray;

  • Left side of bisque doll's head

    Left side of bisque doll’s head

    Yet another part of a bisque doll of a type similar but different to those previously found;

  • A bisque doll’s leg;
  • A belt buckle

    A belt buckle

    A belt buckle with a copper alloy ‘frame’ and a ferrous ‘prong’;

  • Ceramic arm? of figurine? with gilt decoration

    Ceramic arm? of figurine? with gilt decoration

    Inner face of shoulder? joint of ceramic arm? of figurine?

    Inner face of shoulder? joint of ceramic arm? of figurine?

    The possible shoulder joint of a ceramic figurine, maybe?;

  • Another donkey horseshoe;
  • The sidewall of a small sauce bottle;
  • Several small light blue glass beads;
  • Rodent bones – rat or rabbit?
  • A solid section of antler or possibly even ivory?;
  • A 1919 George V farthing – interesting that this is our second coin found dating 1919, and our other two coins were also of the reign of George V (the value of the coins found so far total a penny halfpenny!);
  • The side panel of a relatively small glass bottle bearing the word ‘sauce’ – possibly a Garton’s HP Sauce bottle;
  • A small shard of flat (window?) glass with red (painted?) top and bottom surfaces – possibly from a lamp?;
  • A reasonably large quantity of rusty nails and other metal objects of an unknown nature, a range of glass shards (the only window glass shards were of the thinner type), and much more!
Looking S at N side of front garden gateway - dotted line indicates extent of excavation - click on image to enlarge

Looking S at N side of front garden gateway – dotted line indicates the extent of excavation – click on image to enlarge.

The west edge of the midden partly overlaid some badly laid loosely packed flints, which presumably were part of an approx. 3′ wide path. The wall, which bounded the south side of this grid square had been cut by the later bulldozer right down to immediately above the level of the path. I had expected to find at least the foundations for a brick pillar or quoin either side of the entrance-way, such as has generally been found elsewhere on the site, but there were no signs of any edges to the threshold of the gateway to be seen.

The demolition fill deposited over this area contained more .45 and .303 cartridges, as well as a smaller density of finds, but nothing of particular interest.

Looking N at front garden wall E of gateway

Looking N at front garden wall E of gateway

Looking E at front garden gateway

Looking E at front garden gateway

A small trench extension was made along the south side of the wall to compare the levels of the original ground surfaces on either side of the wall. As expected, though the bulldozed demolition fill starts to rise (or more accurately, the downwards slope was reduced) as it begins to form the large mound of demolition rubble further to its east, the underlying original ground surface starts to drop off relatively steeply.

Finds from small extension to trench, SE side of front garden gateway

Finds from small extension to trench, SE side of front garden gateway

Finds here were relatively few and unremarkable; the most noteworthy being more thick glass shards of a silvered mirror.

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One thought on “Sixty Eighth Dig Day – Friday 20th December 2013

  1. Pingback: Welcome to Newmarket Hill – a South Down Blog! | Newmarket Hill

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