Dig Report 17th July 2000

Excavations at Lawn Farm Medieval Moated Site

17th July 2000

Progress report : Words and Pictures by Noel Boothroyd

The wide ‘foundation’ trench for the long wall turns out not to have cut through the other wall as we thought earlier but returns along this wall, on the outside only. This makes it unlikely to have been a foundation trench but it’s equally unlikely to be a drain or eaves drip as it would hold water directly against the wall, causing severe damp problems, so its function remains unclear.

The gap in the shorter wall was caused by a long, narrow slot trench dug in the 1970s (the evidence is in the form of dated plastic wrapping), perhaps as an unrecorded ‘archaeological’ investigation. Fortunately a stub of the wall remains bonded into the longer wall so it is now clear this was all built in one phase.

To sum up so far we have one large rectangular room at least 10m long by 5m wide with a square room attached at the end of one long side about 5m square. The pottery recovered dates the building to the 13th to 14th centuries.

The long wall has a doorway leading into the square room, with carefully shaped doorjambs surviving on either side at the bottom of the wall and a substantial threshold stone.

The first significant non-ceramic find was this medieval whetstone or hone from the floor of the large room. Initial analysis suggests that this is a naturally hardened sandstone known as ‘boxstone’. This rock forms by iron rich accretions within fissures which occur in local sandstone. The fissures usually have a regular or ‘box’ section.

Local schools have been visiting all week to make use of the educational opportunities of the excavation, with archaeologists explaining the site to them.

Some visitors really get into the medieval theme – actually they are part of the Berryhill Fields Millennium Fair which took place over the weekend.