Crocuses on the lawn and swans nesting on the lake... well they're
Our water-filled, weed-filled moat, now what are we going to do about
Another casualty of the winter months, the marquee collapsed following
heavy snowfall, still as ever there was the compensation of the
So this is what we did about the blanket weed, we raked it out, we
pumped it away then we scraped it up, thanks to Ian and Chris
There was also lots of tidying up to be done around exposed walls to
say nothing of replacing the fallen marquee with our new executive
.... and a little extra digging around the walling to the south east.
Much of March was
spent in preparing for our first 'big dig' of the season:
two weeks over Easter when we were able to welcome friends
old and new. With pump going almost continually we were able
to drain to moat to enable digging to go ahead plus we had
lots of exciting things to do up at the finds department.
Hannah and Nina start work on the back-log of finds washing
whilst Sarah begins the huge task of drawing up our stone catalogue.
Down on site we v balance on boards and squeeze into narrow trenches
to continue the process of cleaning, recording and lifting pots...
... and here's a selection numbered up and photographed, although it's
not always easy to tell where one pot ends and another begins.
After the photography there's the drawing.
Whilst we had plenty of labour to hand it was a good time to do
other important tasks around the site such as cleaning the wall at the
Temple of Flora where Christopher had removed a fallen tree.
Later on Nathan and Emilia did a splendid job of anastylosis, yes it's
that word again, putting back the fallen stones.
A very welcome
addition to the finds department was a new extra large
storage shed for our growing collection of architectural
fragments, endless thanks to Christopher and Rowena for
this.It meant we could get the stones off the ground and
under cover so they could be properly shelved for Sarah to
work here cataloging magic on them. Unfortunately it came as
a flat pack and we had to assemble it...
Someone had to wrestle the slabs into position and level them
before Ian and Sarah started to put it all together
Ian prepares for the addition of the roof panels, Sarah contemplates
the last piece to be added on and here's the completed store with
shelves thanks to Burger king via Oxfam.
Down below more walling emerges and Nathan and Emilia keep the waters
draining so they access the last few finds from the area
digging on the main site were limited by space and after May
turned out to be so dismally wet we examined several other
areas with two new trenches adjacent to the massive walling
on the south east corner, a series of trenches at the
northern end of the great eastern terrace, a little look at
a small mound above the fairy dell, a new trench on the site
of possible medieval fishponds and a couple of expeditions
to the far end of the valley.
Here we go with a trench to north of our main section of walling and
another to west, what are we going to find?
Well not too surprisingly more walls including one that runs across
the dam rather than along it! Paolo and Ian look on in amazement.
So Peter and Leonie try and find its other end, and it's not there.
Still squeezing folks in to the north east octant, Rupert and Kate
lift a couple of very impressive urns with patterning we haven't seen
Finally after six weeks or so of sitting we get... cygnets, eight of
them, and growing rapidly under the care of their attentive parents.
The quest goes
on... for Sir Anthony's mill. As we inevitably come towards
the end of our programme of digging on the House of
Diversion thoughts turn to the other great 'monument'
described by Plot, the water mill that could simultaneously
grind corn, polish stones and bore out guns. It's here
somewhere and we have permission to begin survey work at the
far end of the valley.
Where the ground has been cleared we come across a small ditched
enclosure adjacent to the stream below the bottom dam. We also examine
some exposed rubble next to and below dam number 4.
May provided enough water to fill the trench back up again so
Helen and Alan are dispatched to clear the ground for a new trench
on the site of possible medieval fishponds.
Meanwhile up top John and Olwen have worked extremely hard to
expose the terrace walling at the east end of the great terrace and
found.... nothing. Oh well, let's mark out the trench on the new
May also saw an additional outing to Stowe where we had been
approached by the school to undertake a couple of watching briefs
for them: one on the site of a new golf clubhouse and the second
on the lawn outside Grafton Hall. The first site, not too
interesting, the second, quite amazing.
Sarah inspects the first trench on the golf clubhouse site...
But up next to the main house after some hanging around, Sarah and
Gary compare notes, we found structures and a half.