Newhouse Dig Diary – Day One

Ryan Prescott gives an update on what happened on the first day of digging at Newhouse

The first day of our excavations at Newhouse has provided some promising results already. This week we are excavating two trenches across the earthwork identified last year from geophysical survey (please look at our aims for this year on the CST Blog).

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Trench 1 was swiftly opened with the aid of our JCB. It was hoped that this trench would help corroborate twelfth-century sources that a castle had existed prior to Newsham Abbey, founded here during ‘the Anarchy’. This trench was excavated diagonally from the west to the south-east of the earthwork in order to cut across two of its sides. However, we decided to extend our work in this trench with a perpendicular channel to the southern boundary. At a length of over 40m and 2m wide, the trench has yielded large quantities of flint, some of which appears to have been worked. We have also recovered evidence of burning and pottery finds which we will investigate further as the week progresses.

Figure 1: Trench 1 looking south.

To provide more comprehensive insight into the nature of this three-sided earthwork, Trench 2 was dug across the eastern side of the raised platform and extends from its middle into the ditch on this side at a length of around 25m, slightly longer than initially planned. At first, this trench appeared to show little of interest. Undeterred, we decided to dig deeper into the ditch, and much like in Trench 1, it is clear from this that the earthwork would have been higher than the remains which are left behind. We plan to dig deeper into this later in the week. We cleaned the rest of this trench and discovered a masonry slab, hoping to have a better view of any potential finds and features on our second day when we return to focus on this trench.

Figure 2: Trench 2 looking west with a view of the masonry slab found there.
Figure 3: The ditch being opened up in Trench 2 looking east

We are excited to see what the second day of the excavations reveals and will be posting updates as soon as we can.

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