However, the recovery rate was still fairly commendable with 244 Roman bronze coins, 25 denarii, 1 stater, 23 IA/RB artefacts, 12 Roman fibulae, 40 hammered coins and 80 Medieval artefacts. Of course, an abundance of Roman and Medieval pottery were collected from the field surfaces.
Let's hope that we can get out more in the forthcoming new 2019/2020 season!
As always, the new season kicked off with a professional archaeological dig on one of our permissions, as well as a venture into the unknown.
The professional dig was on a new site we'd discovered that looked to be a Roman villa that may be slightly more upmarket than the other Roman buildings we've come across.
The unknown bit was a visit to two brand new permissions that we'd researched and, on paper, both looked to to be promising.
Back to "The Dig" .... and the "Big Yellow Trowel" arrived, and Derek, the JCB driver, expertly executed 4 precision-cut trenches under the very close scrutiny of the Archaeological Site Director whom constantly monitored the site to ensure overall accuracy and control.
Three of the trenches were 20mtr x 1mtr and the fourth was 10mtr x 1mtr.
We called in to see a landowner who bought another farm a couple of years ago. His new farm has some great looking archaeology and is run by his son so we're hoping that it has a potential.
Of course, he was busy storing the grain from the procession of tractors and trailers but had time for a quick word and gave us his son's mobile number.
We rang his son and asked if it was okay to survey the field we were excited to search due to the research. It had just been drilled with OSR and was perfect for walking and detecting. We managed to recover 25 Roman coins, including a denarius, Roman pottery and the obligatory hammered coin.
Meanwhile, the Dig was going to plan with ditches, post-holes, tesserae, a wall and box-flue tiles being excavated. The flue tiles were exciting as they indicate that this Roman building is quite a high status.
All we need to find is the mosaic floor!
On to new permission number 2, we arrived to find that only half of the straw had been collected. The landowner asked us to text him when we arrived and again when we leave. He did say that he may collect the rest of the straw that morning if possible. We started on the half that was clear and a Roman coin emerged after the first 20 minutes.
The progress was very slow indeed and not in the least what we expected as this field had been excavated with several Roman finds coming from 2 trenches. In all, we only recovered 6 Roman coins.
The star of the day was a hammered penny of Henry I that was in fantastic condition. A hammered halfpenny of Henry VI was also recovered.
The landowner arrived and we had a good chat and got on really well.
He said that the Roman stuff was very deep as the site was in the bottom of a shallow valley and with cultivation and soil creep, this had buried the Roman evidence to a minimum depth of over half a metre!
The temperature had soared to over 28C, so we gave up after 6 hours of hard graft.
Back in the excavation trenches, and lots more Roman pottery, nails, roof tile and a lovely intricately carved bone hairpin were uncovered.
The landowners daughter has been after us searching the lake-bed for the last 4 years, so we obliged and so she and her friend led us to the dried up water feature. The western end of the lake is fed by a spring that has probably been there since at least the Iron Age.
A sestertius of Titus was found along with a superb C1st terret ring.
The professional archaeologist opinion on the Roman villa is that it is in fact a building of high status, complete with a hypocaust heating system, mosaic floor and a tiled roof.
Next year, the Dig Team will have to decide whether to extend the trenches on this site or to perhaps excavate where they found neonatal graves last year. Hopefully, they may be able to excavate both sites, but, there are other sites we've found on the Estate that they may also want to explore?!
Hopefully, our two new permissions may prove to be helpful in our aim to boost the amount of PAS records we submit.
The images from the first new permission can be seen here.
Images from the second new permission can be seen here.