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Daily Dig 2011

The curious case of the ram

Today has been just as warm as yesterday but despite the heat and mild hangovers, work has, as always, been moving on at a pace. When the top soil was initially machined off a large rubble layer was revealed. This deposit is very typical in this particular area of the site and in each year has been the battle of the first week. Generally the rubble is made up of layers and pockets of small stones, mortar, clay and the occasional larger facing stone. This is likely to represent a destruction layer, created as the building was demolished in the early post-medieval period. Interestingly, this year we are getting a notable amount of ridge tile from the northern side of the trench. These tiles are green glazed with finials and slashed decoration. From this layer we have also found the star find of the dig so far. A green glazed rams head vessel. It is possibly an aquamanile but could be a jug. At the moment we are in the process of washing the finds from this context and slowly putting the ram back together. We will bring you more on this as we join the pieces.

Medieval ridge tile

Green glazed ridge tile from the roof of the manor house

As we start the second week we are beginning to glimpse medieval features as they are gradually exposed with the removal of the destruction layer. In the 1980s Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust (GGAT) placed a trench running through this area in an attempt to find the manor house. Cardiff University also focused it’s attention on this area with a trial trench in 2009. The open area trench this year incorporates both of these past excavations and allows us to bring together previously know evidence, developing our interpretations of this corner of the site. A particularly successful example is a heavily robbed foundation trench for a large wall initially identified in 2009. The robber cut for this wall is slowly becoming clearer with the open area excavation, allowing us to match it with a wall discovered in a 1987 GGAT trench. We are still uncovering these features, along with potential clay floors, and will bring you more on this over the next couple of days. As is always the case with excavations, interpretations are always open to change as work develops.

medieval green glazed rams head

The rams head so far...

As well as the excavation work, a small group of people have been carrying out a topographic survey of the events field. Currently the field is full of tantalising humps and bumps which geophysical survey in 2008 was not able to clarify. We will bring you some results of this in a future blog post.

Update: The Ram’s head was the subject of several news stories. For a brief roundup see here.


About Alice F

I am a PhD student at the University of Cardiff working on medieval and early post medieval pottery found in South Glamorgan. I have been particularly working on the ceramic assemblage from Cosmeston excavated in the 1980s. My role on this years excavation is to manage the finds processing and archiving. I will also be cataloguing the pottery retrieved during excavations at Cosmeston over the last three years.


3 thoughts on “The curious case of the ram

  1. Well’ I dont have sufficient room to put all 25 of you up, Maybe four at a given time.Would be fun.Anyway how do I send the photo of my replica Aquamaline.If you have an email address I can attach it.

    Posted by ritaroberts | July 10, 2011, 3:16 pm
  2. GGAT have a very similar Ram’s head jug from our Cardiff Castle excavations. For more info and pics visit http://ggat.wordpress.com/2011/07/11/from-the-same-flock/

    Posted by ggat | July 11, 2011, 1:01 pm
  3. This particular blog post, “The curious case of the ram �
    Cosmeston Archaeology” illustrates the fact that u actually fully
    understand what precisely you’re speaking about! I really thoroughly approve. Thanks a lot -Bobby

    Posted by tammara richter | January 11, 2013, 1:20 am

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Day of Archaeology 2011

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