Week 12-13: Ring Ditches, Ring Ditches Everywhere!
It's been a busy week here at YBD, and a great start to April. Work marches on and yet more exciting discoveries have been made. Currently it's all about the ring ditches, as you will see.
This week we uncovered some great archaeology on site, and our first building! What was thought at first to be a sub-circular/sub-rectangular possible ring ditch has turned out to be the remains of a building. This possible Neolithic/Bronze Age House was identified towards the west of the area. The feature is formed of a sub-circular single footing slot-trench, with stakeholes and postholes in the base. The stakeholes in the bottom, suggest the base of a wall consists of a wattle and daub or cob on a timber core construction. Some larger post-holes have been identified, but the structure is still under excavation. The internal features boast a large central posthole and some other internal features but no hearth material has been apparent.
Interestingly on the south side of the building and area of metalled cobbling exists. The extent of the cobbling has two distinct phases recorded and could suggest and area of working. The ditch is approximately 8-9m in diameter, and the cobbling has a similar spread. The cobbles appeared to lie over the ditch close to where an entrance might be expected. This area has revealed a lot of flint from the silt overlying the cobbles but again, further work is needed here.
The only dating evidence so far recovered is from the flint, coming from both the ditch and the cobbled surface. This indicates an early date for the structure. As there is no trace of a hearth or other internal features so far, the function is still unknown.
The structure lies to the south of the ring ditches in Area 1c , which contributes to a dense area of activity relating to the funerary monuments already uncovered. This exciting relationship is one we hope to tease out over the coming weeks. Interestingly this feature was not identified in the preceeding geophysical survey, so was a very pleasant surprise to us.
Another ring ditch RD5 (our fifth on site) was also exposed,. This large ring-ditch c. 15 m in diameter has a causeway on south east side. No internal features have been found yet, but more work will follow. Some burnt bone was recovered from fills either side of the terminus along with two postholes on the outside on the ditch which appear to have rings of packing stones.
The house and RD5 are on the north and north east edge of a small in filled pond. A section through the pond indicated it was shallow (c .3 m) and naturally silted up over time. The pond does have a lot of charcoal inclusions which may relate to a pit and some burnt mound material identified on the western edge.
We were also lucky enough this week to be visited by AeroPerspective, who kindly provided us with a range of aerial shots of our archaeology work. We were delighted with the results and have included some stills here, and the full fly over can be seen by clicking through to the AB Heritage facebook page.