Day 7: Only two more days left! We are all finished with the castle trench now, as I reported before, but still excavating what appears to be agricultural soils in trenches 7 (Emily) and 11 (Sarah). The occasional fragment of brick or charcoal tells us we are still within layers created through human activity, so we’ll carry on until we reach subsoil or bedrock.
All of the artefacts recovered from these layers are consistent with a conceivably Plantation-era date of deposition, which is a good sign! The extension of Trench 9 is allowing us to define the edges of the feature I noted yesterday, another hopeful sign that there is still undisturbed Plantation period archaeology on the site..
I’m beginning to believe (hope!) that we may be in the vicinity of one of Thomas Phillips’ garden areas, where Thomas Raven’s map also shows three small buildings which may be barns or possibly the houses for some of his tenants who would have been working his lands.
Meanwhile, Ruth has continued to draw the short straw, as her latest test unit, a 1m square trench situated on what appears to be the original causeway in front of the castle, is located in a spot that was once used as a dump for household refuse.
She’s excavating an array of cold cream jars, milk bottles, asbestos sheeting and nails in the hopes that beneath this deposit survive some earlier deposits that may help us to understand when and how the causeway itself was constructed. She may speak to me again in a month or so…..
Today has also been a day for visitors, including two school groups, a delegation of fellow archaeologists from the Centre for Maritime Archaeology at the University of Ulster, and Brian Black, filming for a special programme on the Plantation this afternoon.
Yesterday we also had the Derry Journal on site, getting the word out about the excavations and the history of the site. I’m thrilled with all the media attention and the opportunity to get the word out about the project, although I must admit that I didn’t get much other work done today! Still, the sun shone brightly and warmly today and promises to do the same again tomorrow.