Today has been just as warm as yesterday but despite the heat and mild hangovers, work has, as always, been moving on at a pace. When the top soil was initially machined off a large rubble layer was revealed. This deposit is very typical in this particular area of the site and in each year has been the battle of the first week. Generally the rubble is made up of layers and pockets of small stones, mortar, clay and the occasional larger facing stone. This is likely to represent a destruction layer, created as the building was demolished in the early post-medieval period. Interestingly, this year we are getting a notable amount of ridge tile from the northern side of the trench. These tiles are green glazed with finials and slashed decoration. From this layer we have also found the star find of the dig so far. A green glazed rams head vessel. It is possibly an aquamanile but could be a jug. At the moment we are in the process of washing the finds from this context and slowly putting the ram back together. We will bring you more on this as we join the pieces.
As we start the second week we are beginning to glimpse medieval features as they are gradually exposed with the removal of the destruction layer. In the 1980s Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust (GGAT) placed a trench running through this area in an attempt to find the manor house. Cardiff University also focused it’s attention on this area with a trial trench in 2009. The open area trench this year incorporates both of these past excavations and allows us to bring together previously know evidence, developing our interpretations of this corner of the site. A particularly successful example is a heavily robbed foundation trench for a large wall initially identified in 2009. The robber cut for this wall is slowly becoming clearer with the open area excavation, allowing us to match it with a wall discovered in a 1987 GGAT trench. We are still uncovering these features, along with potential clay floors, and will bring you more on this over the next couple of days. As is always the case with excavations, interpretations are always open to change as work develops.
As well as the excavation work, a small group of people have been carrying out a topographic survey of the events field. Currently the field is full of tantalising humps and bumps which geophysical survey in 2008 was not able to clarify. We will bring you some results of this in a future blog post.
Update: The Ram’s head was the subject of several news stories. For a brief roundup see here.