After months of hard work we can annouce the dig report for the 2015 Caldies Big Dig is finally published.
On Monday last volunteers from the research, digging and cataloguing teams of our Caldies Big Dig gathered in the Museum of Liverpool at Liverpools Pier Head for the reveal of our display cabinet showcasing some of the fantastic finds that came up from the dig.
The finds were hand-picked by volunteers from the huge amount of finds that came from our four trenches. The finds were also given a personal touch by volunteers writing about what they discovered. The display is located on the 1st Floor of the Museum of Liverpool at the Pier Head and is FREE for the public to view.
The volunteers also recieved a copy of our Big Dig Report which you can download free of charge here: Caldies Big Dig Report.
Once again thanks to the volunteers and all the Museum of Liverpool staff.
The weather was on form this morning and so were the volunteers. We had our greatest number today which meant we could have three trenches open and some find cleaning and sorting at the same time.
A word must go here thanking the volunteers as their response has been fantastic as has the response of the community: one member of the public remarked that ‘Calderstones Park has never had such a high-profile, everyone knows about it now.’
Our volunteers have been great and we’d like to thank them all and hope they keep getting involved with further ‘Connect at Calderstones’ projects.
Whilst work continued apace on Trench 1 and 2 which are our original trenches and are still going down the real interest of the day for all volunteers is what would come out of Trench 4 which was dug to look at the Ha-Ha.
As stated yesterday we were surprised to find it had a very steep cut with lots of what seemed like natural ground (i.e. undisturbed) behind. For safety we had to begin taking the natural out to step down the trench. As the mattocks began cutting into the compacted soil – shock – FINDS!
What we all thought had been natural seemed to be producing finds – it couldn’t be natural after all
Only further digging today will sort that out.
Only further digging tomorrow will sort this out!
We had decided to spend Wednesday washing and sorting the hundreds of pieces of pottery we’d discovered during the previous week and a half. The main reason for this was the poor weather; however when we arrived to set up the tables in the old Theatre Room at the back of the mansion the weather wasn’t looking at all bad.
We decided to press on with our plan anyway and we’re glad we did because within a few minutes of our volunteers arriving, the heavens opened and we were left with trenches like mudpits.
All the finds from all our trenches had been carefully placed into trays to be cleaned. This meant lots of scrubbing with brushes, sometimes big ones and sometimes little tooth brushes.
It was nice to see some of the very mucky items we’d dug up cleaned.
It was also nice to see so many volunteers learning that not all archaeological work is carried out in trenches and that a lot of the finds have to be sorted, recorded and cleaned.
Not a dramatic day but there was a lovely atmosphere and It was especially nice when the BBC arrived to film some of our work.
Keep your eyes peeled and hopefully we’ll be back in the ground tomorrow!
Keep your eyes peeled and hopefully we’ll be back in the grou
What a difference a weekend makes!
The lovely weather of last week had been blown away into a soggy, windy Tuesday morning. Still Museum of Liverpool Archeologists and our Volunteers are made of sterner stuff so without so much as a whimper they dived into the trenches.
We again had some school visits; 60 year 3 pupils from Our Lady Bishop Eton and then 32 pupils from Smithdown Primary. We also had a small group from Alt Bridge School who didn’t know about the dig but were in the park anyway and were fascinated by what we had uncovered.
The big news today was the opening of Trench 4, the Ha Ha trench.
A ‘Ha-Ha’ is a ditch with one sloped side and one sheer side made up of a sunken wall. The idea was to create a barrier between the park where you may have deer or cattle and the lawns where you would relax, promenade and picnic.
The advantage of a ha-ha is that it creates a barrier without disrupting the view. Most ha-has are 18th Century so Calderstones is a late example and may show how Ha-Ha building techniques developed.
Within a few inches we came down onto the hard-compacted sub-soil, possibly the natural with the tracks left by dead tree-roots throroughout.
This was surprising as we were expecting a V shaped cut for the Ha-Ha with one side filled in, instead we seem to have a very sharp cut that is only about 20cm from the wall.
Because of the nature of this cut we may have to remove some of the natural to see how it develops.
In Trench 1 recording and measuring was continuing, we’re pretty sure we’ve hit natural here so it’s now a case of just recording all the features we’ve found.
Trench 2 (behind the house) however is still getting deeper and still bringing up loads of finds. Most of them are 20th or 19th Century but we did find a significant pointy metal object.
Although it does look a bit sword-like its probably a blade for a plow that snapped off or even part of some gardening equipment.
Our finds are starting to stack up now so on Wednesday we’ll probably take some time out to wash and record them.
We’ll keep you updated.
What a stunning day! The weather was beautiful and so were all the volunteers who turned up!
The day stated with a visit from Gwladys Street Community Primarywho had a wonderful reading session in The Calderstones and who gave some excellent feedback on our archaeology.
It was decided that as we had hit bedrock in Trench 3 it would be best to close it down, so all those tonnes of spoil that had been removed had to go back in!
The turf was laid on with expert precision by the archaeologists and in some cases by a ham-fisted yours truly.
Whilst we were busy shovelling soil the volunteers at Trenches 1 and 2 were getting down to some fabulous archeology.
Trench 2 unearthed a whole collection of flower-pottery and gave the volunteers a great experience of digging out feature sections.
Trench 1 brought up two star finds today: a small fragment of a Masonic Clay Pipe showing a compass and set-square symbol and a fragment of wine/spirit bottle.
The bottle is very interesting as it is hand-blown and doesn’t have any moulding marks on it. This suggests it is quite early and may even pre-date the Mansion House! Volunteers had a great time imagining that perhaps this bottle made its way to a rubbish tip after the foundation stone of the house was laid! Imaginative stuff but you never know…
Now that Trench 3 has been closed preparation began for Trench 4. This will be in front of the Mansion again but this time up against the Ha-Ha so we can see how it was built and what was placed in it’s backfill.
We hope all of you enjoy your bank holiday!
Day six began with a visit from the lovely Gwladys Street Primary school.
They had learned about dinosaurs and the Egyptians in class and had even done their own little archaeology dig in their school grounds.
They really enjoyed their time in Calderstones and getting to see our archeologists at work!
After the weather yesterday it was great to see all the volunteers out in force even though the trenches were quite damp…
And needed some remiedial work: enter Jeff with the ladle.
The job this morning was finishing off the planning of Trench 1.
Before mattocking began…
We had some nice finds including a clay pipe stem with mouthpiece.
A pretty glass bottle.
And ta da! Fran cleared out her crisp packet filled feature to find what looked like a lovely post-hole filled with a base of stones. Could this be evidence of a structure of some sort?
The careful planning of the trench resulted in Hannah and Jude creating this beautiful trench plan.
On with the digging!