Dig 3 – Evidence of a building found in Test-pit 3?

Moving beyond the houses of Streetly End, our remaining three test-pits of Dig 3 were all dug in the south-eastern corner of Dovehouse Meadow, to the west of the Mill House. An early 19th century enclosure map of the village shows a group of buildings once occupied this corner of the field, perhaps part of a farm yard or a tannery that is known to have occupied the site. One building, in the vicinity of Test-pit 3, is small and rectangular. Could this be the dovehouse the field is named after?

Test-pit 3 during excavation in 2016.

Recent geophysical survey suggests that the area is covered with building rubble and it was hoped that Test-pit 3 might answer questions as to what twas beneath the rubble. Over the weekend, the excavation team dug down 40cm to reach natural clay and an intriguing linear feature which might be the edge of a ditch or the foundation trench for a building. The archaeology comprised 10cm of turf covering 10cm of topsoil and 20cm of building rubble, mostly broken ceramic roof tiles known as peg tiles. The linear feature was only partially observed along the eastern side of the pit. It appeared to be running in a north-east to south-west direction and was filled with redeposited natural clay mixed with building rubble, again mostly broken roof tiles.

A slot excavated across the linear feature found at the bottom of Test-pit 3, possibly the edge of a ditch or a foundation trench for a building.

A large quantity of building rubble, mainly broken pieces of plain peg tile, was found in the test-pit.

Nothing was found to prove that this was the site of a dovehouse, but the linear feature is on the right orientation and in the right location to be related to the small rectangular building shown on the 19th century enclosure map.

Finds from the pit include a small quantity of pottery, including a few small abraded sherds of medieval pottery and a few sherds of 19th century pottery. Nothing in the assemblage suggests domestic occupation nearby, however. Instead, much of this material has probably been deposited in the field as it was manured with domestic refuse brought from elsewhere.

You can explore the test-pit by checking out the 3D model below. Click play to activate. Once it has loaded, click and hold the left mouse button to rotate the model. Use the scroll wheel to zoom and the right mouse button to move the model. Switch to full-screen mode for the annotations.

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