Monthly Archives: May 2015

Goldingham Hall Dig (May 2015) Day 3

A report from Aldous Rees, site supervisor

Today was a lovely sunny day on site and progress was made in all trenches.

Trench E managed to bottom the big ditch and in the process found a lot of animal bone.
  Trench E ditch with ranging poles.

The ditch with the black fill was completely dug out today for dating evidence and a pit adjacent to this was continued. This pit is looking prehistoric as very little pot is present. Bone and a lovely flint blade have been found as well as a piece of quern stone.
  Flint blade from trench E

  Quern stone from trench E

In Trench F all the ditches and features progressed well and many of these features were drawn and planned. These features continued to produce nice pot fragments and bones. 

It was encouraging to see many people drawing and recording their own features today. Much more will be done tomorrow. 

  recording being done in Trench F by Jane Crone

Cat and Maggie recording in trench E

Trench A, also known as the oven trench, also progressed well today with members of Gestingthorpe History Group possibly finding the stoke hole. This is great and shows more about these structures.

A special shout out of thanks goes to Dave Dignum who spent the day washing and processing the finds.

Tomorrow is the final day of this excavation which will be spent focusing on recording and planning. Our Open Day runs from 2-4pm when tours of the entire site will be given. Please come along to see our discoveries and learn more about the history of this site and how you can get involved.

Goldingham Hall Dig (May 2015) Day 2

Well, Friday’s digging saw highs and lows. Highs = the continuation of the “doughnut Friday” tradition, lots of finds and new banners ; Lows = sideways rain, strong winds and more rain. Spirits remained high, though, and work carried on!

We were joined again by Cat and John from ACA and were also lucky to have Dr Carenza Lewis on site offering support, advice and perspective.

We were pleased to get our new banners, funded by the Mi-Community Initiative grant from Braintree District Council. It was great to finally get a team photo which should appear in next week’s Halstead Gazette.

 Team photo

Thanks to Phil and Corinne for the doughnuts; those extra calories came in handy during today’s digging in the rain.

  Jill demonstrates her doughnut technique – pinky up!

Trench F keeps providing clues to its early medieval origins in the form of more pottery, and an aim for tomorrow is to get on top of the new ditch and possibly flint-packed post hole features which came to light today.

Janet and Carenza discuss Trench F’s new features

 In situ flints – possible post hole packing?

  Maddy and Sallie carry on trowelling through the rain

  An intriguing Roman roof tile from Trench F

The diggers on the western end of Trench E carried on going down through yesterday’s flint layers and came down on an area of compacted bone most of which appears to be pig – possibly piglet. Work will carry on tomorrow to get to the bottom of this feature and reveal it better in the section.
The western end of Trench E

 Masses of bone from Trench E, including possible piglet

Further pit and posthole features were excavated in the eastern end and the fill from the large ditch included a piece of Roman box flue tile. No Roman finds we’re known from this site previously and yet two were found today!
 Eastern end of Trench E

  Roman box flue fragment

  The large ditch feature in Trench E

Chris, Peter and Gil also carried on trying to identify the bottom of the central oven in Trench A. This is proving a difficult task as it appears many ovens were built one on top of the other over a series of time and the exact location and nature of the  heat source are still elusive.  Work will carry on with this task tomorrow. 
Diggin carries on on Saturday and Sunday will be dedicated to recording and planning. Sunday is also our Open Day, so please come round to have a look at our finds and discoveries. 

It is hoped in the future that a big bid can be put together so that larger-scale excavations can be carried out at Goldingham Hall, which is proving to be an important site, not only for community heritage but to further academic research.

An artistic representation of the medieval manor at Goldingham. 

Goldingham Hall Dig (May 2015) Day 1 

Over 20 SVCA diggers joined forces to start this year’s excavation at Goldingham Hall. Aldous Rees is our site supervisor again this year and we were supported today by Cat Ranson and John Newman of Access Cambridge Archaeology.

  Trench F gets started

After a good clean back of Trenches E & F the digging began in earnest. Trench E, supervised by David Gevaux, had a hard day mattocking through flint, flint and more flint in the western end of the trench and came down onto a 20th century drain in their quest to discover more about the series of ditches. At the eastern end a further post hole and possible pit were uncovered. Some 12th-14th century pot sherds were found and a nice flint scraper also turned up! 

 Flint scraper from Trench E
  New Trench E post holes

  The “flint zone” 

Trench F, supervised by Corinne Cox, was a bit easier going and several pit, post hole and ditch features were excavated. Several sherds of pottery, including early medieval Thetford ware and some decorated, were found from the various features in Trench F. This would seem to further indicate that this part of the site predates the area at Trench E. 

 Early decorated pot from Trench F

  Cat Ranson offers advice to Trench F

  John and Aldous 

Work also continued on investigating the “subterranean” oven and John Newman’s expert oven advice was greatly received. 

 Chris and the mystery oven 
Funded by a grant from Braintree District Council the dig carries on until Sunday, 31st May. Join us on Sunday for our Open Day 2-4pm to have a look round the site and see what has been found!

  The many features of Trench E

The trenches are open at Goldingham!

As the sun shone this morning a small, select group of SVCA-ers were out on site to see the new trench, Trench F, opened and see Trench E extended. Cat Ranson of ACA was on hand to provide expertise and guidance and Ian Kiddy did an amazing job with the mini digger. Lots of new features were revealed and it is our task over the next few days to see what further information these features can reveal about the manorial complex at Goldingham. Watch this space!


Cat Ranson guides the mini digger to extend new Trench F

Trench F


Trench F has several new linear and pit features


Ashley and Cat discuss the extension to Trench E


New post holes have turned up in Trench E – possibly linking to previous ones


Looking back at Trench E

Goldingham Hall Excavation continues 28-31 May 2015

Stour Valley Community Archaeology will be participating in another excavation at Goldingham Hall, Bulmer, taking place on Thursday to Sunday 28 – 31 May 2015. The aim of this dig is to find out new information regarding the size, shape, age and use of the structure near Trenches C and D where we have post-hole features and high-status, imported pottery and also to further examine features in both ends of Trench E. There is also some further work to be accomplished on the “subterranean” oven in Trench A. 

 The funding for this excavation is being provided by a £3000 grant we’ve received from Braintree District Council. Many thanks go to Corinne Cox in her hard work for securing this funding. We will once again be supported by Access Cambridge Archaeology on the three digging days, Thursday to Saturday. Cat Ranson and John Newman will be the archaeological supervisors and Aldous Rees will be site director. Dr Carenza Lewis will also be visiting the site throughout the dig. 

Sunday the 31st will be dedicated entirely to recording and post-excavation work. We will again have an open day on the Sunday, 2-4pm for anyone who wishes to have a tour around the site and find out more about our group. 

Ashley Cooper, the landowner of Goldingham Hall and patron of SVCA, has once again kindly offered to host us at this site. We will have use of ‘the tea shed’ and toilets (the two most important places on any dig!) and are thankful to Ashley for his hospitality. This event is only open to fully paid-up SVCA members. 

We look forward to welcoming both returning members and new ones to Goldingham. It should be another lovely, and hopefully dry, SVCA dig.