Update at end of first week – North Hylton field

Work on site continued for during the week with Wardell Armstrong archaeologists leading the examination of the field assisted by Northern Archaeology Group and volunteers.

On Tuesday 24th October a couple of small  ‘test pits’ were dug which showed a clay bed at around 18 inches in depth.

Small test pit (K.Cockerill)

There were a number of finds produced from the metal detector survey, including coins and an axehead  ;

Axe head (K.Cockerill)

Some finds from Week 1 including a musket ball (K.Cockerill)

A token was found that was thought at first to be Roman but when cleaned was a lead token with an anchor on one side. There is discussion whether these tokens were issued to pay farm labourers and used to purchase sundry items from their employers or whether they are ferry tokens.

Front and reverse of token found in field. (Jude Thompson)

A larger trench was started over some of the anomalies identified by previous surveys. The surface grass was cleared using a JCB.

Digging large test pit

Jude Thompson inspecting the first large trench (K.Cockerill)

The test pit shows there is a strong bed of clay a couple of foot under and the worry is that the parch marks are as a result of natural ground clay rather than old buildings but the parch marks are very regular and would seem to indicate an old structure or boundary wall the details of which have been lost with time.

Parch marks

All of the discoveries so far have been from the civil war period onwards, apart from the anchor marked lead tokens, which are thought to be post-medieval from discussions with experts on Twitter.

Coins and more tokens are being found everyday and there is still lots to discover.

The site will re-open at 9am on Monday 30th October at 9am and new volunteers are still welcome. Please dress for the weather and working in a field … and don’t forget your trowel!