Friday, 10 November 2017

Symondsbury Project

Went with Alison and Vaughan to see Sir Philip Colfox at the Symondsbury estate this morning. We had a hair-raising ride in his Landrover around the estate looking at possible places where we can do fieldwalking, watching briefs (non-commercial works on the estate) and geophysics with the possibility of excavation if we find anything of interest. One of the fields has a 'lost' mediaeval village located on it. Sir Philip is sending us an estate map and we can look into possible location for various fields to work on. If we can do some long-term work on the estate we would be able to tie-in projects with the local people, schools and visitors, as we have done elsewhere, but on a larger scale. This is an opportunity to get involved in: fieldwalking, research (history of the estate), geophiz, watching briefs and excavation. This will be BIG! We will have more information soon after the committee meeting occurs. Keep looking in.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Eton visit

Chris, Colin, Caroline and Hugh went to Eton College to find documentation on Yenston priory, known as Endston in the 15th century. No location was found in the documents, but lots of legal references that established a good timeline. So, it's back to the archaeology.  

Anyone understand Latin?

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Eton Mess?

DDCAG members and local Yenston researchers are visiting Eton College on the 21st to look for clues as to the location of the priory in their archive, as they bought the land after the Reformation. If we can find evidence of the rough location we can use our geophiz survey better and save a lot of time and money when we open our next trench. Report to follow, so keep looking in.

[update: we are now looking to go later after the Waterloo works have been completed]

Not so lucky Three Leaf Clover

Some unstrat. finds included this metal object, too light to be lead.

Also this very nice, high quality, thumb print decorated pottery rim with glaze on the inside. 
This must be medieval. [20/02/2018 - no, it is 18th c., which is why we have pot experts!] 

Field of broken dreams.

Trench 1, Field 1 has now been dug and recorded and also back filled. Initial interpretation is that the features are prehistoric, but the finds will be looked at soon. The priory remains lost, but we are carrying on.
A small Trench 2 was dug to see what might come up in another corner of Field 1, but only hit bedrock, so this field is now being abandoned and all efforts are to be concentrated in Field 2. 

Geophysics is now being carried out in Field 2 and the results will be published soon. Fingers crossed that the priory will be found!

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Trench 1

Day 1 found us digging the features brought up by the machine stripping last weekend. None of the features had any depth to them and very little in the way of finds. So we will record them and then do some more geophiz in the adjoining fields hoping to find the priory and some more features. This field has been impacted by modern intrusions and dumping of materials, but we had to check the first geophiz results (which did look promising) and record any features, which we are doing. Thanks to all who came this week and David will be on hand this coming Saturday to help people record what we have dug.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Durotriges Big Dig 2017

10 members took the Durotriges Big Dig 2017 tour last Thursday at Winterbourne Kingston with BU. Lookout for more pics in the Newsletter.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Swash & Buckle

Here are the first finds which came from the spoil during stripping. Well done Caroline for having a sharp eye. I'm not a pot expert, but I suggest that one piece is probably Bronze Age, one or two Iron Age and one or two Roman. The buckle was found by Colin in the natural silty clay, which is very rocky. How that got there is anyone's guess. [update: the buckle was there because it was in a fill created by quarrying! Mystery solved.]

This buckle has diamond decoration all around with fleur de lyse in the corners.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Yenston - machine stripping

Adam the digger driver, despite a bad back - what a hero.

The large pit - may be Iron Age

Linear features

Visiting locals

We opened up the trench yesterday looking for the priory,  but found prehistoric! Several linear features, a couple of postholes and a large pit. That's just how it goes sometimes. Hopefully we can find some dating evidence next week. Photos and films to follow, so keep looking in.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Human posts

Diggers mark the spot of our proposed trench. Luckily we don't have to stand there until the digger turns up!

Monday, 3 July 2017

A post about posts

Trench 1 was set out on Saturday morning and posts put in place ready for topsoil stripping next Saturday. We have positioned the trench over an area that will hopefully pick up a series of features in a 10m x 10m square. We also established a TBM (Temporary Bench Mark) and the site is 101m AOD (Above Ordinance Datum). Next week is make or break.

Saturday, 3 June 2017


Excavation of the Priory Fields site will commence at the beginning of July with the setting out of the trench, transfer of the Bench Mark and stripping of topsoil. Look in for the first photographs here.

Geophizing Along

Members set out to a farm near Maiden Newton today to undertake some geophiz surveying.

Results will be downloaded and if anything is located we will post them here.  

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Yenston/Henstridge project update

I went to the Parish Council meeting last night and gave a presentation on our Nether Compton excavation so that people will know how we work in a community. Very positive feedback with offers of help when we start work in July.

We have been working with local contacts and one is a metal detectorist called Colin and he showed me some finds he has made over the years. All finds have been registered with the local FLO.

This could be part of a horse harness.

A Scottish coin of the 13th c. 

  A beautiful medieval ring.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Priory search is on!

DDCAG chair David Northam and archaeologist Chris Tripp met the tenant farmer of the site we wish to excavate and two representatives of the villages of Yenston and Hentridge, Somerset today. The site is NOT under the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme, as was feared, so that means we can begin to search for the lost priory this summer. This could be a very exciting and important excavation and we hope to begin work in July until September or October and over the coming years. Some villagers are already interested in becoming members so as to work on the site and, of course, we are also looking for as many established members to get involved as possible, either digging or post excavation finds processing. We will establish a rota so as to give all comers a chance to dig. Good news! Keep looking in to see how we progress and get in touch with any questions.

Monday, 8 May 2017

A Tip-Toe Through The Bluebells

Situated at Ashley Chase, just north west of Abbotsbury, is a Dorset treasure little visited by tourists.

Judith Young organised a walk to the remains of a chapel, dating back to the 13th century. Some land was given to Cistercian monks from Netley Abbey near Southampton by the landowner William of Litton in 1246 so that prayers could be said, in perpetuity, for him and his family.

The chapel was built and dedicated to St Luke who was a Greek speaking physician and historian from Antioch in Syria and a companion of St Paul. The chapel continued to be used until the King Hal and Thomas Cromwell dissolved the monasteries in 1530's. The chapel was used by the community for some time, but it gradually became a ruin.

In 1925 the land was bought by Sir David and Lady Milne-Watson and they shored up the surviving gable end of the chapel, which still stands today. They loved this space so much they were buried here. 

People still use the chapel for contemplation and we found evidence of a couple who had visited for a 'hand-fasting' ritual only recently.

Some of the group then went to walk around Abbotsbury Iron Age hillfort and some to the tea room at Abbotsbury Tropical Gardens, where we sat surrounded by exotic plants.

Thanks Judith for a lovely day.      

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Testing, testing...

Today we did a back garden dig for Alice, who is doing 'A' Levels at the moment, and she needed something special for a project. Luckily we did find some nice artefacts and she has the paperwork and drawings to add to the outcomes.