Voyages to the House of Diversion 
Seventeenth-Century Water Gardens and the Birth of Modern Science

July/August 2019 - After the Digger


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The first two weeks of July saw Sarah and I in the wilds of Herefordshire completing out third season at Croft Castle's Fishpool Valley for the National Trust excavating a remarkably well preserved conduit house and recording an eighteenth century and later pumping mechanism situated, not surprisingly, in the pump house.

You can read more about it all here.



July     July
The Trust volunteers plus Sarah excavate the conduit house.                                                            Plenty of complex machinery to keep us occupied in the pump house




Whilst we were away the contractors moved in on Hanwell to create better access to the lower part of the garden along the newly named Via Archaeologica. In addition some of the existing spoil was spread about a bit and some topsoil and silting removed.



July     July
The digger and the dumper leveling spoil heaps and a view along the new super highway.




July    
Back after a lengthy break Chris and Sarah tidy up the south trench ready for photography and drawing before moving on to the slowly drying out western section.




July
Peter follows up a metal detector signal and finds something big, not sure what yet so we cover it over pending the excavation of a larger area.




July     July
On the hottest day of the year so far Chris excavates a pot buried in cake mix and on the day after I dig all morning to tidy up section edges.




July
A marvelously intact seventeenth century wine bottle recovered by Christopher from the north trench.




As we moved towards the end of July rather unpredictable weather meant occasional storms with accompanying down pours which kept the lower parts of some trenches slightly soggy. So it was that our efforts were directed towards digging out the remaining largish area  along the south west side of our polygonal enclosure.



July
Flooded out again...




July     July
... so up top Peter, Ian and Toby cut a section edge. The next day Toby and Chris continue defining the line of the wall whilst some nameless hero digs out the rest of the area to be excavated.



Sarah, who had done sterling service earlier this summer, disappeared south in search of a holiday leaving me to recover her trowel known formally as Henriette, Trowelborn, First of Her Name, Worm Slayer, Trench Queen and Mother of Finds. Henriette was cleaned oiled and polished so that she could receive tribute from all those passing by.... what, doesn't everyone look after their trowel this way?



August
The trowel that launched a thousand ships... or maybe I'm getting mixed up with something else....



Anyway the second week in August saw us continuing to crack on although a lot of this was continuing to shift dirt in large quantities, ton after ton, although there was some digging too. We are getting closer to our sea of rubble otherwise known as 009. We also worked on removing the last of the rubble from the western area although even with pumping it continued to be exceptionally sticky. One plus was the discovery of the larger part of a very elegant seventeenth century tin-glazed earthenware plate, a really nice find.




August     August
Toby and Chris stir the pudding mix whilst Peter tackles the last root.




August
... and here's the plate, rather lovely.