I Dig Godolphin comes to an end.

I’m very sad to say that this will be the last update on I Dig Godolphin, as the dig has now come to an end. We’ve had a great time at the property over the past two weeks, we’ve answered a lot of questions about Godolphin, and also created many new ones!

Here’s an update on the final day’s digging, and some possible answers to the many questions we have about Godolphin…

We now know that a road exists between the earthwork bank and the side gardens, and this could be the medieval Breage-Trescowe/Vanes Lane road.

Louisa does a final clean of the medieval trackway.

Louisa does a final clean of the medieval trackway.

The bank which runs along the orchard, from the Cider House to the side garden wall seals an original land surface, and is probably 16th century in date. This forms part of an outer enclosure, perhaps dividing the orchard into ornamental (west) and more wild-looking (east) planting. The ornamental planting would have been closer to the house, to create a formal orchard on this side.

Unfortunately we didn’t find structural evidence of an earlier Cider House, but it’s clear that the ramp is made (at least in part) of good quality dressed granite, possibly derived from the earlier building.

The fully cleaned Cider House ramp, which we hpoe to keep uncovered for visitors to see.

The fully cleaned Cider House ramp, which we hope to keep uncovered for visitors to see.

The medieval drainage gully was also given a final clean, ready for recording…

The survey equipment.

The survey equipment.

Final dig of the medieval drainage gully.

Final dig of the medieval drainage gully.

 The Mike Dodd/Peter Schofield kiln in trench D was a much more complex structure than originally thought, and highlighted an interesting point in archaeological interpretation: despite photos, memories and written accounts of events only 40 years ago, the scant remains of the kiln made it difficult to understand. It’s interesting to think that archaeologists then make assumptions about the use of the earthwork bank from a few sherds of Late Medieval pottery!

The orchard area has been cultivated since the earliest phases of Godolphin, with pottery from the 14th-16th centuries represented in high numbers, incorporated into the soils by manuring from the house and farm. Later material was less prolific, although industrial material from the 19th century had been dumped in the area to the south of the Cider House (mining kibble handle and chain, boiler waste (slag) and stone).

Although there was no direct evidence, the flint scraper from trench B (probably Bronze Age circa 1500 BC) and fragment of well-worn prehistoric pottery found in trench E, support the idea for prehistoric origins at Godolphin. This could be associated with activity on Godolphin Hill.

The last two weeks at Godolphin have been fascinating, and as you can see, we have discovered lots of interesting and unexpected finds. After cleaning and processing all the finds, they will be kept here at Godolphin, and some pieces will be added to our archaeological handling collection for visitors to enjoy. On behalf of the Godolphin team, and our visitors, I’d like to say a big thank you to the archaeologists, both staff and volunteers, for all their hard work on site.

A helping hand from Smeggle the dog.

A helping hand from Smeggle the dog.

James the archaeologist hard at work.

James the archaeologist hard at work.

The final day's team. Sadly this picture is missing many other volunteers who have also worked so hard over the past two weeks.

The final day’s team. Sadly this picture is missing many other volunteers who have also worked so hard over the past two weeks.

The penultimate day’s digging

The dig site at Godolphin was a hive of activity today, as the archaeologists began a final clean of all the trenches, before beginning to draw (cross)sections and use surveying equipment to record the trenches and finds.

More of the medieval road was revealed today…

The road is revealed.

The road is revealed.

…and a section was cut further in to it, to test the depth of the road.

Testing the depth of the road.

Testing the depth of the road.

Both trenches D and F look great after a final clean today. Trench D shows the full extent of the remains of the Cider House pottery kiln, while trench F contains the remains of the Cider House ramp.

Volunteer Barbara does a final clean of the ramp in trench F.

Volunteer Barbara does a final clean of the ramp in trench F.

 

The kiln volunteers do a final clean up too.

The kiln volunteers do a final clean up too.

To save the best until last, today trench D provided us with a wealth of Peter Schofield/Mike Dodd pottery. Some pieces are almost entirely intact, with only minor chips, while others are unfortunately more broken. This was such an exciting find for us today, as the volume of pottery means that we can use some objects as part of our handling collection, to help us tell the story of Godolphin and the families that lived here. What a great find, well done Alex!

Alex finds a significant dump of pottery.

Alex finds a significant dump of pottery.

Fame for the kibble handle!

Today we welcomed Chris, another new volunteer to the dig site. He got stuck in to trench A… with a Cornish shovel!

New volunteer Chris in trench A.

New volunteer Chris in trench A.

In trench B, we have now discovered a faint brown line in the clay, running the length of the trench. This could be a ditch cut into the natural (subsoil). Can you spot the archaeology in the photo below?

Spot the archaeology.

Spot the archaeology.

I’ll give you a clue, it’s on the right hand side of the photo. Our volunteer Louisa is going to investigate more of this tomorrow.

More progress has been made on the Breage-Trescowe track, and it has been a great talking point with visitors today.

The medieval track emerges.

The medieval track emerges.

Trench D has provided yet more pottery, as today the pottery dump was discovered. This contained a wealth of broken pottery and test pieces, which we will now wash, pack and record for the archive. Hopefully some of these pieces will then be added to our handling collection, currently on display in Godolphin’s King’s Room.

The kiln boys reveal a pottery dump.

The kiln boys reveal a pottery dump.

After some excellent research by our volunteers and archaeologist, it has been made apparent that yesterday’s bucket handle find, is not a bucket handle at all. It is the handle from a kibble – the bucket used to bring tin and copper up from mines. Later our volunteer Keith found the accompanying chain.

Fame for the kibble handle, as a local paper visits to photograph the progress on the site.

Fame for the kibble handle, as a local paper visits to photograph progress on the site.

Today the kibble was photographed as one of our interesting finds for a newspaper article. Look out for Godolphin in next week’s The Cornishman!

Blue, blue electric blue..

Bluebells at Godolphin, Cornwall

Bluebells at Godolphin, Cornwall

Once again I headed west to Godolphin, and was greeted by an electric blue carpet and a heady scent of bluebells, I felt like sitting under a tree and daydreaming the day away. I was down in the far West doing a handful of small jobs. At Godolphin I had more empty museum archive boxes to deliver, an appropriate task as  I have a red Berllingo and am called Post Man Pat by many NT Rangers  and small children, but my car cat is white not black and white! 

Objects found at Godolphin that can be handled by visitors
Objects found at Godolphin that can be handled by visitors

I also wanted to see the new  hands on archaeology activities  that Siobhan had created in the King’s room. They are proving a great success with the visitors, with lots of activities to go with them, including sets of dominoes for families to play. I remember playing with my grandpa who use to knock the table to make all the tiles fall over and he could then see what we all had!

The Kings room at Godolphin

The Kings room at Godolphin

Jim the National Trust Archaeologist based in Cornwall with his organized paper archive.

Jim the National Trust Archaeologist based in Cornwall with his organized paper archive.

I visited the NT archaeologist based in Cornwall to audit his  finds and paper archive, it’s all part of the national archives work I told you about  in the February  post The future of the past. As well as our own archaeologists I am checking with museums what the have that has come from NT sites, especially from before they came into NT ownership. I had the pleasure of visiting Helston Folk Museum, the front looks like a very small building but once inside it is a Tardis!  full of social history, archaeology and so many interesting tools to keep all happy! There is an upstairs with a sloping floor due to the original use of the building as a meat and butter market.

The entrance to Helston Museum

The entrance to Helston Museum

The value of visiting  local museums are many fold, I was hoping to familiarize myself with the local  pottery and objects from excavations, and also what industries took place and any unusual tools and equipment we may find when working on a site. I was very excited to see in one of the displays a bone spoon almost exactly like one we had found at Godolphin and which was now in the handing collection in the Kings’s room!  it was part of a collection of bone spoons made at a farm just across the fields from Godolphin, whether the people on the farm made them for sale was not clear but the connection with our spoon was intriguing,  the moral of the story is visit your local museums you may be surprised! 🙂

Bone spoon fround at Godolphin

Bone spoon found at Godolphin

Finally I had to include a photo of a very popular attraction at Godolphin, Gollum the Turkey, hopefully visitors will remember the archaeological  finds and not just dear old Gollum!

Gollum the turkey another attraction at Godolphin!

Gollum the turkey another attraction at Godolphin!