The big kiln clean up.

I’m afraid today’s post is an update from yesterday at I Dig Godolphin, and another post on today’s finds will follow later on. Two for the price of one! So first for yesterday’s update…

Our volunteer Louisa has started digging a ‘feature’ in trench B. This looks like a ditch that runs beneath the Late Medieval soil. This can only be seen as a slight difference in the colour of the soil, and shows how subtle some archaeology can be- it’s not always hunting for treasure!

Louisa excavates a ditch below the late medieval topsoil.

Louisa excavates a ditch below the late medieval topsoil.

A big clean up of the kiln has started in trench D, ready for being photographed and a survey today. We will then have to think about how we preserve the kiln under the soil, before trench is refilled next week.

The fully excavated kiln site.

The fully excavated kiln site.

Volunteers Keith and Graham carried on revealing the Cider House ramp yesterday. We have discovered late medieval tile and 19th century china/ironwork here!

Cleaning the ramp.

Cleaning the ramp.

It appears that our volunteers may have found the edge of the medieval Breage-Trescowe road in trench E, so almost the entire width is now visible.

Volunteers get to the edge of the medieval road.

Volunteers get to the edge of the medieval road.

To finish today’s blog we have a great action shot of our volunteer Chris swinging a mattock!

Chris swings a mattock.

Chris swings a mattock.

Ready, steady, dig!

It’s been a very productive day on site, with both the archaeological dig and our family activities… so apologies for the very late post (a couple of hours later and it would be tomorrow!).

Cathy has sadly decided to leave the dig, as she will be returning to Canada. It’s been great working with her here at Godolphin, and we thank her for all her interesting finds- some of which are still a mystery!

The newly opened trench F is beginning to reveal the original Cider House ramp, as well as some other hard standing which would have been created to stop the carts sinking in to the softer ground of the orchard. We will be extending this trench further, in the hope of picking up some of the footprint of the original building (which we did not find in trench C at the rear of the building).

Beginning to reveal the Cider House ramp in trench F

Beginning to reveal the Cider House ramp in trench F

Trench A has been cleared, ready to draw the (cross)section tomorrow, and the bank also appears to seal a late medieval soil.

Volunteers disappear in to trench A!

Volunteers disappear in to trench A!

The late medieval layer seen in trench B.

The late medieval layer seen in trench B.

In trench E the digging continues, to search for evidence of the possible medieval Trescowe-Breage road.

The pottery in trench D has produced a Mike Dodd/Peter Schofield egg cup on the site of what we now know to be the Japanese climbing kiln.This was inspired by Bernard Leach’s 1920 Shoji Hamada kiln.

You may be wondering what the title of this post has to do with any of today’s news. Well, in trench D, the competitiveness has kicked in for the kiln digging race…

Timing the kiln digging race.

Timing the kiln digging race.

… or is one of our volunteers waiting for the next tea break?!

Week two and more discoveries at Godolphin!

The archaeologists are back on site for the second week of ‘I Dig Godolphin’, and we’ve had another successful day.
Cathy couldn’t stay away, and has decided to spend more time digging at Godolphin, rather than returning to Canada. We’re happy she decided to come back, as she uncovered another interesting find on site today! 

Cathy's iron object causes a lot of interest on site.

Cathy’s iron object causes a lot of interest on site.

Cathy's find.

Cathy’s find.

Our archaeologists think that this may be an iron masonry tie.

Dave, a kiln expert, visited the site today to help us identify the type of kiln we have uncovered in trench D. Dave has been dismantling a kiln in Lelant, and told us that Mike Dodd and Peter Schofield’s kiln was built in the style of a Japanese climbing kiln. This enabled the heat to be directed up and down on to the pots, and each individual chamber could benefit from controlled heat, ensuring the best firing for each style of pot.

Volunteers uncover more of the kiln in trench D.

Volunteers uncover more of the kiln in trench D.

Sandra has been washing pottery from the 1970's kiln.

Sandra has been washing pottery from the 1970’s kiln.

Trench A is getting deeper, and we have now uncovered a layer of medieval pottery. This will enable us to date the movement of the soil above, and hopefully point us towards a conclusion on the ridge in the middle of the orchard.

Digging deep in trench A.

Digging deep in trench A.

In other news, as well as the 19th century rum bottle, Trench E has produced what appears to be part of a 17th or 18th century decanter,  and some 15th/16th century pottery. Today we also saw the opening of trench F. This picks up the ramp leading up to the Cider House, and we hope to uncover more finds when we reach the base.

It’s been a very long day on the dig, in the drizzly rain- fingers crossed for a little more sun tomorrow!

I Dig Godolphin

The excitement has been mounting here at Godolphin recently, as the staff and volunteers on site have been preparing for the archaeological dig ‘I Dig Godolphin’. The grounds of Godolphin, near Helston in Cornwall, are now being excavated as part of the Council for Archaeology’s Festival of Archaeology. There are many questions surrounding this historic estate, and currently we are looking to the orchard and Cider House to provide some answers. More information on the Godolphin estate can be found here.

‘I Dig Godolphin’ runs from today (15 July) to 28 July, and I will be updating you on all the news from the dig site. Fingers crossed for some fascinating finds!

The dig kicked off this weekend with the help of our countryside Ranger Pip and a mini digger. This is only used to take off the turf, as the rest will be completed by hand.

The first cut is made, with the help of Ranger Pip and a mini digger.

The first cut is made, with the help of Ranger Pip and a mini digger.

Four trenches were then opened, and with the help of lots of volunteers, it wasn’t long before progress was made…

Volunteers made lots of progress today on trench A.

Volunteers made lots of progress today on trench A.

Today’s list of interesting finds includes a Bronze Age flint tool,  and lots of pottery. The Cider House was once used as a working pottery, and because of this, we have found some interesting pieces of 1960s ceramics, still glazed with intricate patterns. Other bits of pot have a grainy, granulated surface which tells us that they can be dated to the Medieval period. Our volunteer Sandra has had an enjoyable day on the dig, and especially liked seiving for finds.

Seiving for finds in the sunshine.

Seiving for finds in the sunshine.

It’s been a successful, albeit hot day at Godolphin today. Let’s hope for some more sunshine and archaeological finds tomorrow!

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!