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.
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 hope to keep uncovered for visitors to see.
The medieval drainage gully was also given a final clean, ready for recording…
The survey equipment.
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.
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.