Archeological Dig

 This summer in front of my house English Heritage have being conducting an Archeological dig to see what they can find. In total they have dug six pits some quite long with the aid of a drot (small long reach mechanical digger) to remove the top soil as their digging quite close to the edge of the cliff. during the winter quite a big bit of the cliff ended up on the scar below this was after we where told by the guy in charge last year that they wouldn't be digging up here for at least 50 years as the cliff was safe and wouldn't move for at least 150 years (Famous last words Buzz).  We've lived up here for two years now first year I spent  decorating the house and last year I started on the garden while digging  the veg patch I started hitting stone with the spade so bin a good lad I decided to dig it up oooooooooops I'd only found a stone wall that run the length of the garden.  At a spade depth and just 9" under the surface I started hitting more stone so I cleared away the soil and found a stone floor slabs 6" thick and 2`x3` and some where broken. So I went to the abbey to see if they had any idea what they could be and was told to stop digging straight away until an Archaeologist came to see me. A few weeks later as they where doing another dig in the Abbey grounds and found 200+ Saxon graves. Anyhow to cut a long story short he told me not to dig to deep as according to the 1763 map he brought with him I have ruins of an old Coastguard station in part of my garden and there could be something more worth while under that.

Stone floor is under the Vegs concrete path put in to protect stone wall numbers 1-3 are spoil heaps from the pits as you can see the fence beyond mine  is about 20 foot away from the corner of my garden. numbers 2-3 and further down is where the cliff went over the edge to the scar below. The building or buildings extend under the fence to the right

In this pit there's what's left of a Saxon stone bound wall and a stone sump  the only water on this site is surface water what the Saxons did was they used to dig down until the reached clay then lined the hole with stone so that the water would seep through the stone filtering it in the process then you had clean drinking water.

Same pit uncovered number 1 is what's left of the sump after they've dug out the stone you can just see the clay  the pile of stone is the stone from the sump its about four foot deep from the top.  The line of stone no2 is the remains of the stone boundary wall from the top of the grass to the clay is also about 4 feet.

This pit is a t-shaped pit top left there down to the prehistoric level. The clay At the top between the blue polythene is where the have found  numerous post holes of house ranging from the Saxon period to the middle ages. the white mark on the side of the pit  the dark area below is a rubbish pit the stones in the fore ground are the remains of some Saxon terracing where instead of growing crops on a hill side they dug off the top and stepped it to make it easier to cultivate it.

Yup I even managed to get inside the pits this is inside the  pit from the picture above. no3 is the remains of a stone building if you look closely you can see its t-shaped .No2 is the remains of the boundary wall. No 1 is a furnace on some kind as the clay has being burnt and is very red in colour which only happens if the clay as being baked at very high temperatures. they haven't a clue what could have being made there as there is nothing to denote what could have being made.

This is the pit nearest to my house. As you can clearly see the post holes forming the shape of two buildings the guy in the corner is recording everything in the pit when I was talking to them he showed me what looked like a lump of brick which in fact  was a piece of wattle and dorb from one of the buildings. what they used to do was dig a hole and  put the post in and then entwine willow or hazel branches about 1" in diameter between the posts then  smear the gaps in the branches (wattle) with dorb a mixture of clay straw and dung this made the buildings wind proof and water tight.

 Some finds

Comb made from Antler

Copper Brooches or Dress pins

Cross, Bookmark, Silver belt end

One of the 200 Saxon graves they found in 2000 one even had being murdered he had is hands tied behind is back and his head cut off. The archeologists  reckon that here on the Abbey head land that there's being  a settlement up here since the hunter gatherers  as theirs evidence of this flint arrow heads and they've even found a place where somebody was sat chipping away at the flint making arrow heads etc etc. At some time up here it was a major settlement  from before the Saxons to the middle ages due to the number of building they've found. and there's  still lots more to discover as they haven't started on the rest of the Abbey plain in front of my house. Next year they going to start digging just over the back wall in the farmers field to see if theirs anything there as they reckon it comes all the way up here so watch this space next year.........................................


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