Monday, 17 September 2018

Open Day

The Open Day for members of DDCAG & SHS went very well, with c. 30 people coming to the talks and visiting the site. A general open day for non-members and Stalbridge villagers will be organized later. We may have pix to show later too.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Jamb yesterday

Some new features came up this week. More walls, heading SE led to a possible door jamb with a nice in situ floor surface. Our digger John suggests that this is internal and 90 degrees to the outside entrance. Interesting. That is the thing with archaeology - new diggers can come up with ideas just like any old lag and help to make sense of complicated sites.   

Possible wall outside the drain

The 'door jamb'

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Getting back to base-ics

As we carried on with Trench C3 yesterday we extended the trench slightly to the north east to follow some nice plastered wall, to see how far it stretched.

We came across what looked like a base, which was also plastered. The corners were reinforced with substantial corner stones and stone infill.   

As can be seen, the plaster follows the base and wall very neatly. This must have been exposed and probably painted. 

As this is the area of the NW facing entrance it could have functioned as a base for the stone columns, the bases for these being found earlier and which are mentioned in the literature itemizing the demolition materials.   

The trench is now looking good for the Open Day. Meanwhile we will be looking to reduce more of the material inside the drain limits. It does look to be that they laid a substantial amount of stone as a base for the house walls, for we have dug down to this material in the space at the bottom of the picture. A small test pit inside the drain area indicates that it too has a stone level under a sandy level and a clay level. The drain follows the wall, as in Trench G1 and the gap between the two is filled with mortar. The parch mark we thought was the porch remains is in fact the shape of the drain in this area. Why they built it in a rectangle may be because they followed the shape of the porch above.  

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

It's Saturday and getting plastered.

On Saturday we continued to reduce dump layersand we lifted a drain stone cover and measured the length of the drains. We discussed the drains and reckon that they are primarily there for roof drainage and thus follow the walls of the house (and the NW porch) with internal drainpipes. Their construction is significant – were they built at the same time the foundations were laid? It seems the foundations don’t sit in a trench but are laid on a base. We then tidied up some of the trench walls.
Plastered walls
The angles indicate the shape
Colin and John found the remains of a plastered wall, on the outside face of wall (013) but potentially above the steps. We moved the spoil heap and excavated in a North Easterly direction to attempt to find the NE termination of the porch – this revealed more plastered wall and a possible chalk floor (or mortar base for the steps) within the porch. We found some finely carved stone, as if to provide a recess for a circular column, and a finely worked section of architrave, potentially from the pediment/lintel/portico (see old engraving of house).

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Feeling drained...

Nice piece of roof tile came up today. Green glazed.

We now have a new drain. The original one ran E-W, then N-S and now into another drain heading E-W continuing under the baulk. This is a massive structure for a small mansion house and must have taken a large work force and a long time to build. A big addition to the history of Stalbridge House. 

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Slab Saturday

Two worked stones that could be the top corners of a doorway. 

The drain turns at a right angle and heads south. Capping stones are still in situ.

This Saturday the drain was confirmed as turning to the south and thus not on the same alignment as in G1. Unless it kinks yet again at some point further east. Finds included a grooved glass bottle neck and carved plaster moulding decorated with spirals.  

Sunday, 12 August 2018

A Hole New Area

This week we have opened up Area C which is the porch of the manor house. The digger had already started before 8am! With a toothed bucket!! That could have been a disaster, but once cleaned up all was well. No step structure has been seen so far, but the drain has turned up again, as expected. How this has not been the cause of heavy machines sliding into it we don't know, as it is only a few cm under the top soil. 

G1 has raised it head again too. John S. found a new wall where we thought there was only rubble. If we get the chance we could bring in the machine again and have a look under more of this dump. This wall is slightly to the south of our main wall and drain and could be either an older structure or the main wall is a repair or extension to this NE corner of the house.    

We have opened a smaller trench in Area C, which should have been 5m x 5m, but due to the digger doings his own thing it is 8m x 3m. Hopefully we will find the base of the porch steps under this rubbly stuff. 

We are to have an Open Day on the 15th of September in Stalbridge for villagers, members and anyone else in the area. We will have a talk, look at finds and then have a visit to site.