Slow progress today, not helped by the weather which was showery at first (though thankfully nothing too heavy and clearing up later) but also with a chill wind. There were 4 people to begin with but augmented by another 3 later in the day, so the mid-week support remains solid.
We spent some time early on between the showers looking a little further afield at the context around the site; in particular a hollow in the bank near the far foothpath stile which Trevor, the farmer, tells us was a clay pit (see photo above). Paul also nipped across into the next field to a pond that might have been a source of iron ore.
We cleaned up trench 5 to get everything to a common level and it's clear that outside of the tumble of small stones is hard compacted yellow clay with no slag and no sign of any burnt material. There is an intersting shape to it in cross section where the topsoil clearly dips into the clay layer at the top west corner with a bulge in the top N corner. We can't interpret what this means. Amongst the stony area, the soil/clay is much softer and sandier in contrast to the hard clay outside. There is a clear demarcation between the two.
Christine uncovered a small piece of charcoal / burnt wood approx. 150mm on top of the stony layer (see photo). There is a noticeable abscence of any slag amongt these stones.
Alex & Mike cleared more of the loose slag/soil from the lower (S) end of trench 3 and eventually reached a layer of much more compacted/fused slag just above the level of the white clay 'base' previously exposed. Incidentally, this clay appears to lip up slightly against the fused slag from it's main level in a very shallow bowl. Pam and Paul then worked backwards through the loose stuff. They found they had left a 'dam' of fused slag to the south of the white clay level. there is more work to do on this tomorrow, to establish whether the clay continues further south (downhill).
We are still confused as to the relationship between the stony/clay levels in the upper trenches (1,2,4,5) compared to the mass of slag in trench 3. We think we shall have to join trench 3 uphill to trench 5 and see how they meet (or not). It may transpire that the slag dump was tipped down a steep slope or it may be that the stony areas are actually dumped on top of more slag that we have not yet excavated in the upper trenches.