Castle Hill Community Dig Blog 4: Season 2 is about to start!

Well, a year has come and gone and it is September again which means Season 2 of our Castle Hill Community Dig is about to start!

Last year was a huge success. The medieval archaeology proved to be far better preserved than anyone imagined. We dug three trenches, investigating the outer bank and ditch of the earthwork and various features inside the monument, uncovering evidence for yards and possible buildings and much more. To learn more about what we found, check out our new Project page here, or explore the 3D models of the trenches below.

LiDAR survey of the site showing trenches excavated in 2016 (black) and the planned 2017 trenches (purple). LiDAR source: Environment Agency (2017)
What are we going to be doing this year then you ask? Well, we are very excited about what we might find this year! We are going to be on site for four weeks (last year we only dug for two) which means we will be able to investigate the archaeology in far more detail. We will be on site from Saturday 2nd September through to Wednesday 27th September (Saturday to Wednesday each week) and we will be having an open day on Sunday 10th September, 10am – 4pm where you can come and meet the archaeologists and see them at work, take a tour of the site and investigate the excavations to find out what has been discovered.

We have opened five trenches, three to resume investigating the archaeology we discovered last year and two to investigate new areas of the site. One trench will continue to investigate the outer bank and ditch of the earthwork. Last year we found that the ditch had been deliberately filled in with earth and stone, possibly to bridge it at an entrance into the site. This year we hope to learn more about this ‘entrance’ and possibly date the construction of the bank and ditch.

Our second trench will take a closer look at an enigmatic earth mound near the centre of the site. Originally, we thought this was a pile of soil dug out of a nearby pond but last year we discovered it may have a stone kerb running around its base. This suggests it was deliberately built, perhaps as a Bronze Age barrow or a medieval windmill mound, but the evidence wasn’t conclusive. This year we will investigate a different area of the mound to see what we can find out.

Our final find in Trench 3 was the corner of a large rectangular structure, perhaps a building.
The third trench will open a large area around a possible building identified at the end of last year’s dig (above). Hopefully this year we can fully uncover its floor plan and learn more about its construction, function and life-span.

Our final two trenches will investigate new areas in the western half of the site. Earthworks suggest this side of the monument may be divided into a series of small enclosures possibly containing buildings. The new trenches will hopefully start to clarify what is going on.

To follow the project, check out our daily posts on https://www.facebook.com/ulasnews/ or come back and read the blogs we post here, or come and say Hi during the Open Day on Sunday 10th September.

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