Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Final day at Haly Hill

Haly Hill, 20th August

Well here we are already on our last full day on site at Haly Hill! Time flies when you're having fun they say, and I think we've definitely had a great three weeks here.

Today was a quiet day on site - with most of the team off helping in the epic backfilling efforts at the other trenches, there were only four of us here. With most of the excavation finished, today was a day for finishing off our careful recording of the site. We were all kept busy with drawing, planning, measuring, levelling, context sheets and photography.

And what fantastic archaeology we have to record! At the end of our dig here, we've found out so much about the story of Haly Hill. To summarise: in trench 4, we were able to see how the longhouse recorded on the first edition maps of the site had been altered over the years, being plastered, then rebuilt into a smaller roughcast cottage, complete with the fireplace we found - grate and all. We can see the whole history of the house, right up to when it burnt down. From trench 1, we can even see that the trackway running along the end of the house was rebuilt 2 or 3 times. Trench 2 told us an equally interesting story. Having dug down through what appears to have been the floor of a byre, we found that this building had previously been used as a smithy, judging from the copious amounts of metalworking slag and iron objects we found. Continuing our excavations below this however, we discovered a surface which may be the disturbed floor of an earlier building - complete with pivot stone for the hinge of a door. The pottery we found suggests this may be a seventeenth-century structure.
So it's been a busy and fascinating time here at Haly Hill - made even better by a team of cheerful and enthusiastic students. And so, with the return of the heroic backfillers from the other trenches, off we go to end the day with a well-deserved celebratory barbecue!

Haly Hill site

Fireplace feature from the building in trench 4

Some nice paved flooring

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