Fifth Dig Day – Friday 3rd May 2013

Newmarket Cottage, looking SE; 3/5/13
Newmarket Cottage, looking SE; 3/5/13

Yet another nice sunny day (with a cold wind), but the turn-out was lower than usual. Brighton & Hove Archaeological Society is busy in Patcham with an exciting Saxon dig for the next couple of weeks. Nevertheless, four Woodingdean-ers did some excellent work furthering the excavation of Newmarket Farm.

Excavating the possible front door
Excavating the possible front door.
Part of front door at N gable end of house
Part of front door at N gable end of house.
Tiled floor near front door
Tiled floor near front door.

The tiled floor was further excavated right up to a possible front door.

Looking SW from front to back of house
Looking SW from front to back of house.
Excavating SW extension to house
Excavating SW extension to house.
Excavating the 'lean-to conservatory'
Excavating the ‘lean-to conservatory’.
Excavating fill of 'lean-to' construction
Excavating fill of ‘lean-to’ construction.
Compacted fill in extension to house
Compacted fill in extension to house.
Compacted fill in house extension
Compacted fill in house extension.

At the other end of the house a compacted rubble surface was very carefully excavated, which may have been under a robbed out floor – removed by WW2 ordnance and later bulldozer. It included small broken fragments of slate roof tile and broken brick.

The interpretation of the many features (contexts) uncovered has proven challenging. A combination of roots, worms, weathering, bulldozer(s) and WW2 ordnance has enabled soil to fill almost every crack and crevice in the masonry. Therefore, it is not easy to distinguish between in-situ masonry and demolition rubble. In the above situation the compacted surface contains material from the fabric of the house. This is a clear indication that it was formed after its construction. A 1942 bren gun cartridge has previously been found on the site. This proves the site was almost certainly used by soldiers, after it was taken over by the military, as a defensive position in their exercises. Therefore this surface could have been compacted at any time after the construction of the house, right up to the point of its final demolition by the bulldozer. Only further excavation might resolve such questions.

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