Welcome to the Urban Archaeology blog. Freelance archaeologist Chiz Harward provides a range of on and offsite services to the archaeological profession, including running and working on excavations, post-excavation services, training and development work, and illustration work. This weblog will carry news of projects as and when they happen as well as wider thoughts on archaeological issues, especially recording, stratigraphy and training.

A series of small walls....in the Cotswolds

The weather has definitely turned since our Open Day at the medieval building complex at Horse and Groom Inn Bourton-on-the-Hill, but work has carried on. We’ve been concentrating on removing the last of the rubble infill of the rooms and we’re nearly there.
It now appears that nearly all the rooms were demolished in a single deliberate act, rather than gradually being abandoned and allowed to slowly collapse. The roof and timber work must have been removed, any fixtures and fittings ripped out, and stone floor slabs were removed for reuse. We haven’t found any fragments of stone or ceramic roof tiles so we believe that the roofs were thatched, or possibly shingled. The walls were then demolished with the best building stone taken for reuse elsewhere, whilst the smaller stones from the wall core were discarded into the rooms. The walls were levelled to the ground, meaning that the distinctive earthworks associated with Deserted Medieval Villages like Upton in Blockley could never form. This deliberate demolition and clearance also infers that the site was not simply abandoned, but actively cleared. Hopefully medieval documentation may shed light on a potential date, person and reason.

The photos are of one of the best preserved rooms: it was added on to the main building and accessed via a doorway from within the main building. At some point the doorway was blocked up –but from the inside of the small room! Why and how this happened is unclear as yet, there must have been another way into the room at ground floor level. The back wall of the room is rather unusual, in an alcove there is a vertically set limestone slab, perhaps making a sink or trough.
Digging out the rubble backfill of the small room. The top of the limestone slab is visible in the back wall.
The room cleared of rubble, the limestone slab is set into the back wall.
Not a bad day’s work. Tomorrow, the room behind…the blocked doorway is visible in the wall