Site cleaning is always the first task and this slowly revealed the patterns in the ground made by centuries of human activity in the two 8m square stripped areas. Crucially, the machining had revealed that the ‘dark earth’, the accumulated organic detritus of centuries of occupation and known to be widespread at Old Place, had already been removed, probably during a mixture of 18th/19th century landscaping and by the builders who had dumped relatively recent building rubble into machine-cut pits.
While the lack of dark earth is in one sense a disappointment – it would have contained much evidence – it has, on the other hand, enabled a look at the ‘cut’ features, the remains of ditches and pits cut into the natural gravels of the area.
Each of the two areas have their highlights. Trench 1, near the current house, has two well-constructed and parallel stone walls, possibly of medieval date. These are big walls and while it is early days to speculate let us speculate and think of them as medieval, possibly part of the late medieval Manor house? Trench 1 also has apparent Roman features. Meanwhile, Trench 2 has more of the medieval window glass discovered in the initial small test pits and possibly a yard surface. Finds are plentiful in both Trenches.
So two days gone and some fascinating archaeology is present to flesh out the amazing story of Old Sleaford. The work will continue for two weeks and if you would like to book a place for excavation please email firstname.lastname@example.org.