25 Wednesday 5th May - Trench 5 Opened & Slag Excavated from Trench 3

After yesterday's quiet turnout, today was almost bustling.  We began by opening up a new trench, number 5, while Alex did some scouting around looking at the context of the site.

We resisted the temptation of opening up the new trench between trenches 3 and 4, concentrating instead on the higher land to the side of trench 2.  Though we hadn't finished excavating by the end of the day, we could see that one side of  trench 5 was a thick yellow clay, while the other was stony with grey gritty sad, pebbles and pieces of orange iron ore and fragments of coal/charcoal.

We also excavated the smaller trench 2 to the same level and found a similar mix (see photo above). 

These are the trenches at the top of the slope.  One other trench, trench 3, lies of the picture downhill of 4 (to the right).  

The general pattern seems to be stones, yellow clay and yellow grit at the top of the slope (trench 1), more larger stones further down (trenches 2 and 5), then grey gritty sand and slag becoming more evident (trench 4 and 5) until slag dominates at the bottom of the slope (trench 3).  Throughout we found fragments of coal, ore and limestone.  

It is not clear whether this is a general gradation across the whole site or a series of more focussed concentrations.

For trenches 1 (back filled) and 2 - see
For trenches 3 and 4 - see

We decided to further excavate trench 3 by carefully removing the interlocking slag pieces.  First, Christine recorded the trench by drawing with a grid frame, after which Alex and Mike carefully removed the slag pieces passing the more interesting ones to Christine for bagging and logging as finds.


The pieces of slag varied considerably and here are two interesting pieces.  The left piece is hollow like a tube and the slag appears to have wrapped itself around a stick of  timber or charcoal that has burnt away.  The right hand photo shows quite different pieces of slag that have fused together presumably by being reheated in a furnace.  At the end of this process, we wondered whether we had been emptying a back-filled furnace (see photo below).

Good progress was made today, so many thanks to all who were able to come!