Dig 3 – Test-pit 4 reveals second building

We also dug Test-pit 4 in the south-eastern corner of Dovehouse Meadow, about 15m west of Test-pit 3 and closer to Webbs Lane. We picked this location because again, the early 19th century enclosure map shows that a long rectangular building once stood in the vicinity, possibly a farm building or a building relating to the tannery; and because geophysical survey suggested the area was covered with building rubble.

Test-pit 4 being excavated in 2016. Test-pit 3 and the windmill can be seen in the background.

Our excavators removed 60cm of soil to reach natural clay at the base of the pit. Archaeology comprised 10cm of turf and 10cm of topsoil covering a compact clay and chalk ‘floor’ which was 20cm thick. This sat on a further 10cm of soil and 10cm of sand. In the northern side of the trench, broken brick and tile filled a narrow east to west orientate trench, probably the foundation for a wall running parallel with Webbs Lane. This and the chalk floor are clear evidence of a building formerly occupying the site.

The narrow wall foundation found in Test-pit 4 was filled with recycled building material (right of the vertical photo scale). A chalk ‘floor’ was also found in the pit (the pale band to the right of the foundation.

Part of an iron band, possibly with a ‘foot’ may be from a bucket (top); a piece of worn stone may be the end of a whetstone (bottom left); and a decorated piece of metal sheet may have once decorated a box or a belt (bottom right).

Finds include a small quantity of pottery, mostly of medieval and early post-medieval date (i.e. 1100-1600). These are all small abraded sherds and are clearly redeposited because they are mixed up with material of later 18th and 19th century date, including glass and clay pipe. Other notable finds include a piece of worn stone, possibly a bit of whetstone; part of an iron band, perhaps from a bucket; and a thin decorated metal strip which may have once been attached to a box or a belt.

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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