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The Archaeology of Castle Hill


Wittenhams 2004 Week 3

Trench 15

Excavations in Trench 15 have progressed rapidly over the past week revealing a complex sequence of ditches, pits and postholes. The most exciting discovery was the skeleton of an adult male, aged between 18-25 years, and a new born baby in an early Iron Age pit. The bodies were both carefully lain in the pit with their heads facing north and their knees raised towards their chests in a crouched position. The pit containing the bodies is located within a roundhouse, but at the moment it is not possible to suggest if the burials were associated with the roundhouse; further excavation will hopefully unravel this story further.

overall trench shot before excavation
above- overall trench shot before excavation (click to view larger image)
right : Burial under excavation (click to view larger image)

Burial under excavation

Trench 14

Trench 14 has continued to produce large numbers of finds from a thick ‘midden’ deposit or rubbish dump dating from the early Iron Age. These finds includes pottery, bone and quernstone fragments. Several items associated with manufacturing textiles have been found, including a bone needle, loom-weight fragments (used as weights on a weaving loom) and a bone gouge. Beneath the midden deposit a number of pits and postholes have been found, which possibly belong to an Iron age building. The pits and postholes will be excavated over the coming week and we also hope to dig deeper to look for a late Bronze Age soil horizon.

Clifton Meadow

Two trenches have been opened on Clifton Meadow to examine anomalies revealed in the geophysical survey undertaken last week. The first trench has located a ditch which appears to form part of a Bronze Age field system and the second trench has found the two ditches of a trackway seen as a cropmark running north-south through the parish. Excavation over the coming week should help date the ditches and we hope some interesting discoveries will be made.


some of the finds from trench 14

Some of the finds from trench 14 (click to view larger image)


Volunteers excavating the Clifton meadow trench


Trench 19

A new trench was opened at the beginning of week 3 to investigate a large circular anomaly revealed in the geophysical survey. The circular ditch on the geophysics appeared to be continuous and was interpreted as a possible Bronze age burial mound. However, the archaeology in the excavated trench all appears to date from the Iron Age. Three circular ditches were found probably would have surrounded a roundhouse. Excavation of the archaeology will begin this week and the design of the buildings should become clear.

tr 19

Trench 19 (click for larger image)



Link to the Northmoor Trust website