Friday, 19 July 2013

Cobbles, Walls and Tiles galore!

This week, besides uncovering the lovely finds from the infilled cellar, our volunteers have been patiently and steadily working away elsewhere on the site to expose more of the structural features of the buildings that once lined St John Street. As we move into the last day of excavation with our lovely team, we'll be photographing, drawing and filling out the paperwork that will become the lasting record of these features.

The inner face of the cellar wall, No. 6

The picture above shows the very nicely built sandstone block wall that formed the west facing wall of the cellar of No. 6. In the centre of the photograph you can see a patch of red sand covered by concrete, encasing an electricity cable that cuts through the wall. It was laid during the building of the Market Hall in the 1990s.
Modern service cables are a common feature on archaeological sites in urban areas! In this case, we've been lucky, as apart from that cable and a drainage pipe in the southwest corner of the site, there has been very little modern disturbance.

Volunteer Joyce exposing the cobbled yard surface at the rear of No 5

The cobbled surface shown in the photograph above would once have been the back yard surface of No 5. Cobblestones were a cheap and very hard-wearing surface before the advent of Tarmac and concrete, and were a common feature of pre-20th century yards.

The tiles that once formed the floor of a passageway between Nos 4 & 5

In the northeast corner of the site, we've removed layers of demolition rubble and mortar to expose a very nice tiled surface, which we believe was the floor of the passageway that divided Nos 4 and 5. In and around this area we're finding fragments of 17th and 18th century pottery: tantalising glimpses into the lives of the early occupants of these buildings.

Come along this afternoon, Friday 19th July, for our final organised site tour - no need to book, just turn up at the gate for 14:00. See you there!

Rob Hedge

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