1998 Site Diary - Trench 1

Trench 1

The first trench has been located to investigate a series of upstanding stone features in the central area of the Gardom's Edge shelf. Survey indicated that these combined to create a near circular bank approximately 12 metres in diameter. Comparison with other features suggested that the area defined by the banks and other piles of gritstone in this area may well have encircled some form of building.

Work began on the 27th of May under the supervision of Adrian Chadwick and Anthony Dickson. As the photographs indicate, work is still at an early stage, but it is already clear that we are dealing with a structure or structures of considerable complexity. This has been reflected in the variety of suggestions put forward whilst people have been working. There has been talk of houses and more loosely defined 'structures'; of stock pounds, ring cairns and other muttered possibilities. The central area of the trench, is relatively stone free and very slightly dished. These characteristics are not uncommon in locations where timber buildings once stood, but they can also be a product of the quartering of stock and the 'puddling' of ground beneath hooves. Further earth will have to be removed before the presence or absence of post holes and related features confirms or denies the existence of a building.

The larger and longer bank of stone within the trench appears to be the product of several phases or episodes of activity, containing two possible faces or lines of placed stones. Evidence for robbing of stone and the creation of hollows can also be seen, and it seems likely that more blocks of gritstone were added to the feature over time. Towards the eastern edge of the trench, we may be getting the first glimpses of an entrance into the interior, an area of gritstone paving between two larger boulders. Here again, more work is needed before we can start to tie down the character and development of the features over time. At the moment, there is a pause in the trowelling to allow for the drawing of detailed plans of the trench.

Artefacts recovered from the trench at this early stage confirm a prehistoric and probable Bronze Age date for activities in the area. Finds include sherds of later Bronze Age/Early Iron Age pottery similar to those recovered from excavations elsewhere on the moor. Stone tools and fragments of carved shale bracelets have also been recovered.

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