The first site which comprised of a huge embankment of loose limestone, possibly once face with dressed blocks in places, enclosed a large rectangular clearing in the woods. Not a lot was found except for a possible shin bone of an animal discovered in some fallen inner wall and a early (likely) medieval horseshoe. The archaeologists on site though it to be from the 1200s or thereabouts. Also in the box of finds was a flint and a whet stone found by the landowner a few years ago. The limestone pavement that the embankment sits on is beautiful and has smooth curvy hollows and pits carved out by weathering and reminds me of the Burren in Ireland. The experts on site thought it quite a positive thing that not many finds turned up as it suggests the site is indeed very old and makes it likely to be early medieval or older...who knows..it's nice just to wonder about it.
The second site where I spent most of my time was on the site of a long disappeared late medieval house which is though to be one of four close by each other sitting on a limestone bank overlooking pastureland with a stream on the lowest part of the landscape. We kept digging down in waterlogged root infested soil trying to find floor but just came across layer on layer of fallen stone and it was hard to make sense of why the stone wall had fallen in every direction. Subsidence was one theory, an earlier botched dig by amateurs in the 60s was another ( apparently the two men involved did not get on and were thought to have hidden finds from each other..indeed the one big collection of pot and domestic bits and pieces found around that time has been 'missing' for many years..intriguing stuff!
While we were digging we chatted and pondered over how these people lived. We thought them to be poor families, the kind that work hard for not a lot and prop the richer layers of society up. We wondered if the stream which is quite a walk down and up a hill was there only water supply or whether it came from a limestone spring , one of the many that come and go without warning leaving people without a water supply. Someone suggested that these people were not farmers but were a small mining community possibly mining limestone for an unknown nearby kiln......we were left with more questions than answers but then again that is what makes the past so magnetic as it appeals to our instinctive curious nature.
|Butterfly Orchid I found at Hen Caerwys a couple of years ago|