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Cottage Garden, The Green, 2009
Site:  One of 6 themed test pits, 1m x 1m, sunk in the village as part of the Great Bowden Garden Dig, in association with the British Festival of Archaeology, July 2009
Background:  The theme of this pit was cottage gardens. The site was chosen because the owner volunteered to have his garden invaded: it was accessible to the public near the village centre; it typified many 19th century cottages in the village, and had existed as a garden for as long as anyone could remember.
Context:  The soil level was 300mm above the level of the adjacent path. The first 600mm was well turned composted very friable loam which had a tendency to collapse into the pit as the dig proceeded. The first signs of clay appeared at 600mm. Natural clay was not reached as digging below 750 mm proved hazardous.
Finds:   The first 600 mm of friable loam produced random finds - largely post medieval sherds, clay pipe fragments, glass, a few animal bone fragments, with traces of tree root.
At 600mm quantities of clinker and charcoal were evident, below which a deposit of building rubble and brick emerged in no discernible pattern. The brick was of the same fabric as the surrounding 19th century cottages. This deposit continued until 750mm was reached when the collapsing pit sides proved too hazardous to continue. Only one early medieval sherd was found at approximately 400mm depth.
Conclusion:  The soil had been built up with compost and well turned in the many years of cultivation, rendering finds above the building waste deposit difficult to interpret. Most finds were post medieval with only one early medieval sherd. The building waste and clinker suggested a domestic bonfire site and rubble from an earlier garden bothy or privy.
A much larger, reinforced pit would be necessary to explore below this depth to natural clay.