Today we were joined by over 50 pupils form Widecombe and Blackpool primary schools who have helped out with the excavation with great enthusiasm! They also enjoyed a guided walk through the surrounding woodlands to explore the remains of Boveycombe Farm and learn about the ever-changing woodland landscape. Many thanks to the pupils and their teachers for paying us a visit!
In what we now think is the kitchen for the dwelling, work was focussed on removing tumble around the fireplace. The winch was again pressed into service, to help remove some old sycamore stumps. We have now revealed the full width of the fireplace. It appears that there are two phases to this structure. An early hearth, comprising of the hearth place and floor complete with granite hearth slab, was replaced by a later hearth, raised over the original. Again, lots of charcoal was found on the hearth slab surface. Of further interest, the level of this latter hearth appears to correspond with the top of a horizontally lain, granite slab that survived buried under the tumble in the corner of the room. We could therefore be looking at evidence for a secondary floor that was laid down over the original floor surface.
In the eastern end of the “main room”, John continued working on and recording the finer fire place producing a fine survey drawing as a result. We think this fireplace warmed the living room of the dwelling. See the video on the Moor than Meets the Eye Facebook page for more details!
Work continues in the other trenches with more sherd of pottery being recovered. A particular fine piece of North Devon Sgraffito Earthenware was found showing a beautiful depiction of a fox head. This type of pottery dates to the second half of the 17th century tentatively raising the possibility that the farmstead is older than we thought…
From the external trench volunteers have also recovered three fragments of window glass suggesting that the openings of the dwelling were glazed.
With two days left we will set to exploring the bread oven and look for evidence for a partition between the living room and kitchen. We will also continue our excavation in the two external structures. Many thanks to all those who volunteered today or paid us a visit.
Don’t forget the Open Day on Saturday!
By Andy Crabb, Dartmoor National Park Authority archaeologist