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Daily Dig 2011

Maddening Pots and Wiley Walls

Trench Action

Today we had two main highlights; Sanchez’s homemade lemonade which provided a much needed afternoon short break and the walls mentioned in yesterday’s update and our tweet this afternoon. The walls we are now seeing were initially picked up in the 2009 trench and the 1987 GGAT ‘castle’ trial trench. From today’s work it seems that we have a cut for a robbed out wall, approximately 1.5m wide running E-W and turning to meet foundation rubble seen in the 1987 trench. The E-W wall runs parallel to the large foundation wall excavated last year and it looks as though there is a clay floor running between the two buildings. This is really exciting as it develops our understanding of a Welsh medieval manor and its associated buildings.

Comparative sites nearby can be seen at Sully, excavated prior to building work from 1963-69, and the large working farm at Old Cogan. The manor at Sully was the administrative centre for the locality and Cosmeston was a sub-manor within this. The excavations here uncovered a manorial centre with hall and other buildings similar to that at Cosmeston. These buildings were situated within a boundary wall with a gatehouse entrance, both of which we don’t have evidence for at Cosmeston. Old Cogan is within a different administrative unit to Cosmeston, but lies only 1 mile away. There is evidence for an associated settlement, as at Cosmeston, but also a mill and parish church. Although these sites provide good evidence of manorial settlement in the Vale, the work being done at Cosmeston has produced a volume of material greater than that found at any other site in the Vale. As a result we will be able to piece together not just the structural remains but also the economic and social relationships of those living in these settlements, as well as diet and everyday functions being played out in medieval south Glamorgan.


The finds tent has seen slow action on the rams head vessel. Sherds from the aquamanile/jug are cropping up in 3 contexts, all of which are associated with the demolition and robbing of the walls of the manorial buildings. So far we have approximately 70% of the rim and at the front of the vessel and body sherds leading down to the shoulder. I spent a painstaking couple of hours trying to find more joins but had to give up to avoid pottery madness. More will be done tomorrow on this and hopefully patience and persistence will win.


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.


4 thoughts on “Maddening Pots and Wiley Walls

  1. Hi Alice, Like you I am a pottery analyst and am familier with the Medieval pottery you are working on I worked for Herford and Worcester Archaeology. Now living in Crete and working on Minoan pottery.Look out for the photo of my replica Aquamaline I will post to Cosmeston. Stay in touch.

    Posted by ritaroberts | July 10, 2011, 3:24 pm
    • Hi Rita, I have been relying on the Hereford excavation finds report for some of my fabric descriptions and also know a few people working for Worcester. How are you finding the shift to Minoan pottery?

      Many thanks for the photo, yours looks to be much finer than the replica at Cosmeston.


      Posted by Cosmeston Archaeology | July 11, 2011, 11:35 pm
      • Hi Alice, I guess you will know Derek Hurst and Simon Woodywiss then,also Caroline who does some wonderful artwork. I love living in Crete and I work for” INSTAP” which is the study centre for East Crete, Voluntary now as I am retired but this was my aim when I moved here. Derek gave me a good reference which helped. I must confess though I prefer working on pottery in England,much more variety. Yes I was pleased with my replica Aquamaline.I am following Cosmeston and the archaeologists seem a happy bunch. Check out my book on Amazon as I talk about Cosmeston,also Hereford and Worcester..Title,,,Toffee Apples & Togas by Rita Roberts.
        Best wishes Rita.

        Posted by ritaroberts | July 15, 2011, 7:31 pm
  2. Hi Alice,forgot to say in my last post. Do you know that The Herford and Worcester Fabric Types are on line.

    Posted by ritaroberts | July 18, 2011, 7:41 pm

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Day of Archaeology 2011

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