Dig 4 – These weren’t the medieval buildings we were looking for at Test-Pit 3.

Moving on to Burton End. Test Pit 3 was dug on a public footpath east of 104 High Street (White Gables). Maps dating to the 19th century show that the site lies close to an ‘ancient lane’ with several buildings which no,longer exist. Nothing is known about these buildings. Could they be part of the medieval settlement?

Part of the 19th-century enclosure map of West Wickham. Test-pit 3 was investigating the building in plot no. 92, which lies on an ‘Ancient Lane’.

Test-pit 3 being excavated.

Excavation removed 40cm of soil to reveal natural clay at the base of the pit. Archaeology comprised 10cm of turf covering 20cm of topsoil and 10cm of subsoil. No features were recorded in the pit.

Finds included a large quantity of pottery, with some clay pipe, glass, metalwork, animal bone and flint, all indicative of domestic occupation nearby since at least the 18th century through to the late 19th century. The pottery assemblage predominately comprised 18th and 19th century kitchenwares and tablewares but also included a small amount of earlier material, of medieval or early post-medieval date (these sherds are all small and abraded and could be from manuring of fields rather than occupation). The clay pipe stems and bowl fragments also all appear to be of 18th or 19th century date. Glass was predominately handmade and machine-made bottle glass and included part of a glass marble, whilst the metalwork included handmade iron nails and pieces of hobnail shoe.

A small number of unique finds were also recovered from the test-pit. These include a flattened lead ‘carbine’ ball, a small brass cartridge case, the tip of a ‘slate pencil’ and a brass cuff-link.

Some of the unique finds from Test-Pit 3 included (from l-r), a lead ‘carbine’ ball, a slate pencil, a brass cartridge case and a cuff link.The finds assemblage is very characteristic of later post-medieval occupation in the immediate vicinity, but nothing suggests that occupation could date back much further than this. The few medieval finds are small and abraded and have likely been circulating in the soil for a long period of time. Overall, the evidence suggests that buildings shown in the vicinity on late 19th century maps are unlikely to date back much earlier than the 18th century.

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