excavation of the site took place over the planned three-week period
in September 2003 in conjunction with Oxford Archaeology North that
provided us with two field archaeologists for the duration.
Trenches 1 and 2 were cut across the southern external bank of the enclosure, back to back to extend from the outer edge of the surrounding ditch to the interior of the enclosure. The bank proved to be low in cross-section, constructed of earth with extensive stone revetting upon it. The ditch profile was established by soil colour changes and it proved to be both narrow and shallow. No visible evidence of either a live or a dead hedge on top of the bank was proved. Finds within these trenches were extensive and included fragments of a Bellarmine ware jug, including the full face; two bowl like pots, one inside the other and carefully place on the inside of the bank; animal bone fragments; and a range of other artefacts and pottery sherds.
Trench 3 was intended to determine the function of the oval (or sub-oval) feature within the enclosure. This trench was cut across the north bank of the oval, extending well within its bounds. The bank was found to consist of the footings of a strongly built stone wall and traces of a possible clay floor/sump were uncovered within the structure.
finds in this trench were half of the base of a stone rotary quern,
two whetstones and various pottery sherds. The conclusion so far
is that this structure may have had a domestic or joint domestic & workshop
Trench 4 was laid across the presumed bloomery, extending from its centre northwards, giving a segment of 25% of the feature. This was doubled in size once its significance had been realised. It proved to be not an iron working site but a buried lime kiln 80cm deep and 2m in diameter, bowl shaped and constructed of quarried sandstone blocks. A stoking hole or flue extended to the east from the base of the bowl. Apart from the high quality of the stone work, given its vernacular origins, the most notable characteristic of the kiln was it being completely full of burnt and partially burnt limestone stones. The kiln had been filled, fired and abandoned, never to be emptied.
Within the ash scrape outside the stoking hole a piece of medieval pottery was unearthed, as yet undated; within the filled-in stoking hole passage a virtually complete but cracked, official excise measure tankard of William III's reign (1699-1702) was recovered. The kiln has been dated by archaeomagnetic techniques to the period 1650-1695 which fits in with the artefactual evidence.
The kiln is considered to be of major significance as a complete example
of a 17th century kiln.
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