Back to Excavation Index

Thatched Cottage, Great Bowden. August 2005

In 2005 we undertook a series of three mini digs, with just one pit, in three locations where we had an interest. 

The second dig in the series was at a thatched cottage in the centre of Great Bowden.  This is one of the oldest properties in the village dating from c.1690. This site was a few metres west of a known Anglo-Saxon site in Main Street which had been subject to an archaeological watching brief prior to development. (University of Leicester Archaeological Services Report No.99/04)

There had been no major disturbance of soil in the garden for the past 50 years.  The house was built on the clay level and the garden was approximately 1 metre higher.  The test pit was placed 5 metres beyond a known well and far enough from the house to have been a rubbish pit in the past.

A 1 metre x 1 metre pit was dug to a depth of 1 metre.  The dark topsoil  became more compacted at 30 cms depth and at 70 cms depth became lighter with less organic matter and more compaction.  The underlying boulder clay was reached at 1 metre depth.  The finds were a mixture of post medieval pottery types  from the 17th to the 20th century but showing no clear stratification.  This could have been due to disturbance or possibly colluviation.

At a depth of 1 metre a single course of stones were uncovered in the north-east corner of the pit.  These stones were flat and embedded with the narrow edge uppermost.  They seemed to form a curved feature and it was thought that this curved arrangement was deliberate and not a random deposit. The stones were between 10 and 20 cms long and there appeared to be no continuation of the line of stones within the pit area. 

However, adjacent to the stones was a small area of soft fine soil 8 cms wide.  It was felt that possibly this was a post hole and it was excavated to a depth of 20-25 cms.  The stones in this feature were small and it was felt they did not form part of a building but they could have formed part of a fireplace and the post hole could have been for a metal spit support.
(see illustration)

There was no apparent correlation between the soil levels on this site and those on the site to the west which had been subject to trench work by professional archaeologists.