This is archaeology! This is how any site progresses – nothing much seems to be happening for a while, then occurs the sudden realisation that a whole lot of spoil has been shifted, much has been exposed and interpretations of the newly exposed features abound. At the back of people’s minds is the Open Day on Sunday. The site must look its best to enable visitors to see what is happening but time is short and none is available for making it a pretty site. The rain is not helping with the work stopping regularly as the downpours make the site unworkable. Then, on Friday, the wind wrecks some of the infrastructure, trashing the Gazebo completely and causing the hasty removal of the shelter.
But what about the archaeology. Well the many visitors on Sunday’s Open Day can view the splendour of Trench 1, placed with precision over two parallel walls of a medieval building. This has to be a Manor House – the walls are so thick and well-constructed. But what of the alignments of stones that seem to span the distance between the walls? What was their role? It is suggested that they could have supported cross beams on which would have been nailed a wooden floor, now all decayed. Yes, that would work and be needed in this soft ground. But what date is this Manor House? Well, walls are hard to date but it certainly seems to be pre the 16th century Manor House of the Hussey family. Suggestions seem to focus on the 13th century. But there does not appear from records to have been a Manor House at that time. Well, here it is, close to the site of the 16th century Manor but not on the site. History at Old Sleaford will have to be re-written!
Meanwhile, in Trench 2, a trench through the ‘dark earth’, the build-up of Roman and post-Roman deposits, there are finds. Sherds from pottery of many types is recognisably Roman in date, right through to the 4th century, and animal bones indicate the meat joints consumed on the site through the centuries. There will be plenty of finds to wash! But what of the rest of Trench 2. What is that big semi-circular wall? An apsidal end of a Roman building? Part of a medieval chapel? Then a man thinks he has the answer. He has seen that ground plan before. It would appear to be part of a dovecote. Unfortunately it is right at the edge of the Trench and continues under the baulk. Visitors come to the site and are amazed to see what lies beneath the lawns of Old Place. They bill and coo, like the doves that once inhabited the place. The Mayor visits, impressed at the exposure of early history of the town he now fronts. Another successful day.