Archaeology in East Oxford

Missing Slides

I thought I might as well put the missing slides on here, with a brief explanation, after Friday’s mishap.

Sector A
Footings in Sector A

Pam’s sector, the only one apart from mine, where there were no human remains. Interesting how there seem to be three distinct layers of footings, and they do seem to be at a slightly different angle to the existing wall.

Sector B

Footings in Sector B

Two distinct layers this time, though it will take aligning the plans to see how they relate to the footings in Sector A. At the far end of the photo, just by the buttress, were found some human remains and, oddly, a dog’s skull, which after Sarah had cleaned it up, looked like this: –

Sector B - Charnel Pit

Human Bones in Sector B

This view is looking away from the chapel wall, with the buttress on the left. A disturbed burial where the bones have been collected together and been re-buried.

Moving round the corner to Sector C, we found a mortar surface, probably a floor, in the North half of the sector; then some disarticulated human remains (a fragment of skull, etc) then Graham came down on this: –

Sector C, Skeleton

Human Skeleton in Sector C

Graham commented “I wish I had teeth that good!”. He thinks that whoever it was must have been high status, as this is as close to the altar as you can get without being buried in the chapel. Also the skeleton does not show the usual signs of hard physical work.

As the digger was back to put in a drain going from Sector B to a soakaway –

Soakaway Sketch

Sketch of the drain to the Soakaway

we had the extra little trench put in to expose the lower torso and legs of the skeleton, which gave us this rather surprising result: –

Sector C - Legs +

Lower torso and Legs of Graham's skeleton

No feet but an extra skull!

Round the next corner to Sector D, where I joined Pam in the ‘No Human Remains’ Club, which at Bartlemas was pretty exclusive! When a large stone slab was found, Jane decided to put an exploratory trench in and after a lot of digging through rubble, an arch was discovered.

Sector D Arch

The Arch in Sector D

There was a lot of fevered speculation – a door to a crypt, a culvert for a stream – but what you can see at the bottom of the trench is the natural, so something much more prosaic. However, when Christopher was tidying up the wall to the right of this photo prior to drawing the section, we found that what we had assumed were footings were actually just rubble, and that the arch continued on: –

Sector D - Whole Arch

The continuation of the arch

As is usual (I’m finding) we did not have enough time to investigate further, as by this time recording and drawing were our first priority.

Past the middle buttress to Sector E, where I just showed the footings: –

Sector E Footings

The footings in Sector E

as Leslie followed on with a more detailed description of the charnel pit that was discovered here. The footings themselves here a really ropy, looking more like rubble, but as the charnel pit took priority, we are not all that sure about it.

The last sector, E, where the main entrance to the Chapel was , was dug by Christopher and revealed this: –

Sector F

Section in Sector F

Apart from joining Pam & me as ‘Skeleton Virgins’, there was not much to show here – floor tiles, etc. The main interesting thing was that the footings went straight down, unlike all the other sectors.

The last bit was not, strictly speaking, part of Trench 1, but was discovered when digging the soakaway. When the digger started to go deeper, human bones were noticed – we asked the digger to pull back a bit, and the same thing happened! Back again, and another skeleton came to light.

Skeletons in soakaway

The 3 skeletons in the soakaway

The wind was blowing so much that every time Paula cleared the leaves out, by the time she got out to photograph it, this amount of leaves had blown back in! But we think we have found the cemetery at last – we look forward to the dating.

Like I said before, I will never, ever go to give a talk without making sure I have the correct version of the presentation on my USB stick – ah, well, a learning experience!


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