Archaeologists from Cotswold Archaeology have uncovered a watermill as part of the HS2 archaeology program.
Excavations were conducted in conjunction with partners from CA and COPA, near the town of Buckingham in Buckinghamshire, England.
Historical records in the 1086 Domesday book, a manuscript record of the “Great Survey” of much of England and parts of Wales at the behest of King William I (known as William the Conqueror), show that the site was part of an earlier Anglo-Saxon estate that developed after the year 949.
Excavations revealed that the site was first occupied during prehistory, with the discovery of a possible ring ditch and a Mesolithic mace head found in a post-medieval quarry pit. The mace head possibly originated from a truncated deposit internal to the putative ring ditch.
The first depiction of a watermill can be found in 17th century historic maps, which fell in disuse by 1825 and was repurposed until eventually being demolished in the 1940’s.
Archaeological remains suggest that the watermill came into use during the 13th century, evidenced by partially exposed remains of three timber beams set in a substantial clay packing deposit, possibly forming the corner of a timber structure. Features relating to the watermill, bypass channel, mill race and outflow pond were still extant on site at the start of the archaeological works.
Image Credit : Cotswold Archaeology
The final phase of mill structures was constructed in the late post-medieval period, indicated by substantial structures designed to funnel water to the mill wheel. The height of the walls and the wide funnel suggest the potential for a large volume of water to be flowing; however, the surviving mill race has a very gentle gradient, possibly as a result of modern management of the ditch following the mill’s disuse.
Excavations also revealed an associated building that contained two rooms constructed predominantly with stone. A series of postholes formed an internal partition within the northern room, which enclosed a stone rubble surface. A brick floor surface survived in the southern room, which (along with material recovered from the walls) are dated to the 18th century onwards.
Header Image Credit : Cotswold Archaeology
Early medieval carved stone of a warrior figure found in Glasgow
Archaeologists excavating the grounds of Govan Old Church in Glasgow, England, have discovered an early medieval carved stone figure dubbed the “Govan Warrior”.
Govan Old Church is the home of the Govan Stone Museum, a collection of early medieval and Viking-Age sculptures found in the grounds, including 30 sculptures from a lost kingdom of Old Welsh-speaking Britons known as the Ystrad Clud who dominated the Clyde valley from the 5th to 11th centuries AD.
Excavations have been conducted by the University of Glasgow and Clyde Archaeology, in which a carved stone of a warrior was uncovered during a community fun day organised as part of the Glasgow Doors Open Days Festival.
The carved stone depicts a man standing side on and carrying a round shield and a shaft. According to the researchers, the discovery dates from around 1,000-years-ago and is unlike any of the other carved stones found at Govan Old.
According to a press statement by the University of Glasgow: “The Govan Warrior is unique within the existing collection due to its stylistic characteristics, which has drawn parallels with Pictish art and carvings from the Isle of Man. Unlike the other stones in the Govan collection, whose chunky style of carving is so distinctive that it has been described as a school of carving in its own right (the ‘Govan School’), the Govan Warrior is lightly incised, which may bring parallels with famous Pictish stones like the Rhynie Man from Aberdeenshire.”
Professor Stephen Driscoll said: “It’s a style that makes us think both about the Pictish world and also about the Isle of Man and it’s interesting that we are halfway between these two places. Govan is the ideal place for these two artistic traditions or styles to come together.”
Header Image Credit : Govan Heritage Trust
Iron Age port discovered on Baltic Sea island of Gotska Sandön
An excavation project, in collaboration with archaeologists from Södertörn University, Uppsala University’s Campus Gotland, Gotland Museum, and the Swedish National Heritage Board, has led to the discovery of an Iron Age port on Gotska Sandön.
Gotska Sandön is an island and national park in Sweden’s Gotland County, situated 24 miles north of Faro in the Baltic Sea.
Earlier in 2023, archaeologists found two 2,000-year-old Roman coins on one of the island’s beaches. Both coins are made of silver, with one coin dating from AD 98-117 during the reign of Emperor Trajan, and the other coin dating from AD 138-161 during the reign of Emperor Antoninus Pius
In the latest excavations, archaeologists have now discovered evidence of twenty hearths on the same beach as the Roman coins discovery.
According to Johan Rönnby, a professor of marine archaeology at Södertörn University, the site is an Iron Age port, not in the sense of quays we imply in the modern era, but instead a place where Iron Age people regularly landed their boats and formed an encampment.
Although the purpose of the encampment is speculated, the researchers suggest that it may have been linked to an emerging seal hunting industry.
“Seal hunters may have come from the island of Gotland and landed on Sandön to boil seal blubber. This could have been what the hearths were used for, but we don’t yet know – there may be other reasons why the site looks like it does, such as it being a trading post,” said Rönnby.
Excavations and carbon-14 dating of one of the hearths has indicated that they also date from 2,000-years-ago, suggesting a possible link between the encampment and the Roman coins.
Header Image Credit : idw
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