North Duffield Conservation and Local History Society
EXPLORING THE IRON AGE
From 21st July to 27th July 2012, inclusive, Archaeology North Duffield(AND) staged their first ever true archaeological 'dig' in a field to the North of the village.
The event was entered into the Festival of British Archaeology-
To finance this Project , AND has received Heritage Lottery Funding to investigate the local historical landscape
Aerial photographs had shown indications in the crops of several round features and what appeared to be numerous linear ditches: one such ditch cut the field in two about halfway along its length and running in roughly an East West direction.
The 'dig' was run with the invaluable assistance and guidance of Dr Jon Kenny, Community Archaeologist and Hannah Baxter, both archaeologists with York Archaeological Trust.
In the first instance, a geophysical survey of parts of the field was conducted using both Resistivity and Magnetometry. The latter proved inconclusive but, the former showed clear indications of the long linear 'ditch'. A second attempt at Resistivity to locate the larger of the three round features failed when the Resistivity meter was found to be malfunctioning. An exercise in triangulation using permanent features in the landscape was therefore used to pinpoint three features for investigation: the large round 'hut-
A local resident with considerable digger-
Over the first day of the 'dig' a team of volunteers, which included two students on 'placement', a number of archaeologists, ex-
The 'natural' sub-
Once we had cleared off the top-
We subsequently extended Trench 2 which resulted in a slight soil discolouration being seen in the SE corner which, we hoped, was the outer perimeter of the 'hut-
We recovered a great many stones which are something of an enigma. They are of sandstone and have been examined by John Hickson, a geologist, who confirms that they are Sherwood sandstone which underlies North Duffield at some several meters depth . It is likely that they were deposited at the end of the last Great Ice Age, 12,000 years ago, as the glaciers retreated, dumping their loads of stones picked up on their travels South. There is no known local outcrop of Sherwood sandstone, the nearest being at
We also found pottery which comprised 13 sherds of Iron Age [pottery to a total weight of 191.56gms and three sherds of Roman pottery: 1 piece of pottery similar to Holme-
A lot of the bureaucracy of a 'dig' is never seen on Time Team; meticulous photographs of every stage, recording of features, drawing of plans, collecting samples, collecting 'finds', excavation of every feature whether it is thought to be man-
Both Saturday and Sunday resulted in plenty of visitors and roughly 25 volunteer diggers each day. Inevitably, the number dropped during the week, but, we still had up to 15 volunteers each day. Without them and all their hard work we would have struggled to complete the 'dig'. As it was, we felt able to open a fourth Trench to confirm the continuity of the linear ditch and to recover more dating evidence in the form of pottery.
Oh, and we found a skeleton in the extension to Trench 2. Sadly it was of a sheep, perhaps two sheep, but the bones were badly eroded suggesting that the soil is acidic. No other bone of any kind was found in any of the Trenches, which is quite unusual as we have turned up many in field-
So we achieved all our aims: we found and confirmed the existence of the ditch and circular feature, we obtained dating evidence, we successfully completed quite a large-
Thanks to everyone who took part, be they diggers or visitors(or both). A further Report is in production and will be released shortly.
Jon Kenny briefs the diggers
Geoff Helstrip removes the turf and topsoil, supervised by Dr Jon Kenny
The image of the ring-
Iron Age pottery
The compulsory ‘end-