Thursday, 30 May 2013

Mystery Object

We need some help with this. What is it? It seems to be some sort of tool for scrapping. Perhaps ashes or charcoal from a fire. If anyone knows leave a message.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Two rooms, all mod cons, yours for 250k

It is typical of archaeology that you think you know what is going on with a site and then it throws up something else. Here, just behind and following the line of the tape, is a new wall dividing the structure in half, with a small 'door' just to the left of the bucket. I spent the weekend worrying about this area, as the stratigraphy just did not look right, and this is why. A few scrapes of the trusty trowel and it came clean. Cyn had an idea that the north wall was open to the Drift Lane (Old Sydling Road), as with most workshops, and that is why the bricks here are not mortared; perhaps added much later. A good idea. The hedge looks quite new, with very little variation in species.

 Meanwhile the sheep are getting used to us and come at us mob-handed! It is a task to keep them from walking over our nice clean areas.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

DDCAG at a National Trust Dig

Today some of us went to the National Trust dig at Burton Bradstock to see what they have found.
Martin Papworth of the NT explains the site
This is a building that, just like our site, has been lost to memory by the time WWII began. It was then that a gun emplacement was cut through it.
A large calibre shell casing
  This looks like something that Dino would eat in the Flintstones! But is probably an ox bone.

This is a fireplace hanging over the edge of the eroded beach. Much of the structure has been lost to the sea.

As with most of our outings we scampered to the cafe for coffee and cake.

Archaeology & Education

This is Charlie, who helped us out last week to break the back of the rubble layer. As with most community groups not many of us will see 50 again, so it was great to have some young muscle on site, including young Chris (does that make me old Chris?). Charlie is doing a land management course at a college near Dorchester with part of it relating to archaeology, and I am sure we all wish him the best of luck with that and his future career.

This week - we can record and take off the next layer(s) and hope to hit the floor, as well as looking at the door structure.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

The Doors of Perception

The remains of the door with some stone in situ behind
Great find today. We seem to have the remains of a wooden door between the brick columns and confirms that this is the entrance set in the south east corner of the structure. The metal ring seen here is in situ. Hopefully we can look forward to hitting the floor surface once we have taken off more dirt layers in the interior. It would put the icing on the cake to find a hearth structure too, but lets not get carried away.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Lets get ready to RUBBLE!

A flat site!
As we had two young and fit lads with us this week they naturally were given the task to hit what we call (0002), or 'the rubble'. As a result we have vanquished the core of it and are looking to have a flat site for the first time.
Thanks to Chris & Charlie!
It is becoming clear that there are more layers under this one and the floor may be quite some depth yet. But the walls are beginning to look good and the evidence suggest, so far, that we have a possible workshop, with plenty of slag and a glass substance adhering to some bricks. Hopefully we may find a hearth to substantiate this theory soon. 

Look out for a video of the site on the next post. Dorset Diggers in action!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Diggers All!

'The Three Graces' of Lyme Regis, clearing off the N-S wall
Saturday saw some sterling work by our 'Three Graces' of Lyme. The N-S western wall looked spruce and clear after some hard trowelling. Well done to them.
Our next series of jobs is to take off the rest of the grass and topsoil to the west up to the Limit of Excavation (L.O.E.), record and take levels on the rubble dump and then we can start to hit the dump and hopefully get down to the floor level.  

Friday, 10 May 2013

Shell shock!

We have opened up a new trench just to the east of the main site so as to look at a possible feature running north-south across the field.

Even though our structure is not that old it was still made of material that would have been at the bottom of a sea millions of years ago:

Meanwhile, the main site has finally been stripped of overburden and the walls are beginning to see the light of day:

The structure that started all this has also been finally dug out:

Now comes the time to record and then dig the rubble dump. Oh happy day! But at least we will then begin to see the walls in all their glory. Let's hope that the sun returns, as we have been valiantly working in some rather damp conditions of late:
Nothing worse than a damp droopy hat 

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Glass tomb

You will remember this glass stopper from the last post. Here is the full story:

Brierley Hill, Glass Furnace Accident.

"There are they say, only two things in life that are inescapable, Death and Taxes. It would appear, from the latest reports, that the latter is no longer true, but the former takes a bit more dodging than we are capable of. Some times when we least expect it. Just how much of Albert Ryder andEnoch Oliver were actually buried, in 1893, is a matter of conjecture. They both worked at Messers Wright and Company, a Glass Bottle factory at The Delph, Brierley Hill. On the 20th November, together with Charles Henry Pearson, they were attending to the furnace, which had a capacity for nearly a100 tons of Molton Glass. It wasn't a new furnace, and neither was it as well maintained as it should have been. Leaks were pretty common in the glass industry, and the standard method of stopping one was to direct water at it, hoping the glass would cool down enough to seal the hole. This normally worked, so when, at about 1.15 pm, a leak was found, this what the three of them did. It was a " quick fix too many ", and one of the Firebricks, 3 feet long, 2 feet long, and a foot thick, dropped out of the base of the furnace, directly over where they were standing. Charles Henry Pearson must have had a veritable band of guardian angels standing with him that day, as he managed to escape the deluge of the 2,400 degree molton glass. The other two wern't so lucky, as the entire contents spread out across the workshop floor, engulfing them as it went. I would, as would others, hope that death overtook them in an instant, as it's hard to picture a more terrible end. ( I had enough trouble, when I was younger, trying to get my head around why a man would fling himself into a vat of  hot spelter, in the Galvanising shop of the factory I worked at.) The rather grisley task of recovering the " bodies ", using hammers, chisels and crowbars, began as soon as the pile of glass cooled down. Apart from some bones, belt buckles, and nails from their boots, there wasn't much to recover. and Albert Ryder was buried at South Street Baptist Church, and Enoch Oliver in Brierley Hill, both of their mortal remains still encased in the glass. James Wright, the factories owner, expressed his sympathies to both mens families, said they would be greatly missed. With the arrogance so noteworthy of the time. he then said he hoped the other of his workman, would do all they could, to make up for being 3 men short. Needless to say, for the slipshod way he ran the place, and a total disregard for anyones safety, he was never prosecuted. Just another couple of " Accidental Deaths ".

Thanks to Dennis Neale for this, first posted on the Black Country Muse blog.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Metal object: disc-us?

We found this metal disc in the trough structure this weekend, with the lighter patches being made of copper. Top of a barrel? This made me feel like a women's Wimbledon champion; which is something I don't often say!

As mentioned in the last post, we have found the standing structure to be just an add-on to a much larger building, as can be seen in this rough sketch here:
 The next phase is to clear the rubble and find the interior floor layer and to clear the grass and topsoil to the west. We will then have uncovered a 10m square around the building.

Ben found an interesting piece of glass with the name Wright & Co. on it:
From this he did some research and found this from a bottle collector:
"This Lamonts Patent with glass stopper from Morris Soda manufacturers Wednesbury (below) is one of my favourite pieces, the glass is very crude and full of bubbles. Embossed to the base ‘Wright and co Glass makers Brierley Hill.’  Mr Wright has had quite a lot documented as he ended up bankcrupt in the early 1900's though also possibly related was an early "Elf n Safety" incident where the glass kiln exploded and killed 2 workers!!"

Which just goes to show that such information can be found through a small find.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013


Now it is making sense. The main structure is the walls we have been uncovering, with the standing structure just an add on.

As can be seen in this picture, this southern E-W running wall runs up to and behind the standing structure and links up with the western S-N wall and thus makes a main square(ish) structure, with the standing structure as a 'trough' added on to the south wall. The N-S running wall to the east has a gap in it at the SE corner and is probably the access point into the structure.

The main E-W wall turns S-N with the standing structure to the right 
The E-W wall running to the right behind the standing structure; the gap is next to the bricks

So, after a good days digging, with some definitive outcomes, what better way to enjoy the cloudless sunny day than a quick nap: