To open…. click on Excavation Report
Front page of Report
Brick and Tile Identification (or CBM)
The CBM identification has now been done by Sandra Garside Neville, an expert in historic ceramics from York.
She says “Overall this collection of CBM is different from nearby York.
In particular, for the size of the collection, there is a remarkable variety in CBM.
Although there seem to be some very typical York fabrics, there are others which are not present in the city.
The location presumably buys from different markets to York, and may be at certain times made its own.
This makes the CBM forms and fabrics present at Keesbury of research interest..
Further research (in the form of measuring the bricks and observing their appearance) on the bricks of Cawood Gatehouse might be of use for comparing them with the Keesbury collection.
There are a fair amount of wasters in the collection, and along with some of the unusually shaped brick and the discs, which adds to the idea that the brick and tile may be made close to Keesbury”
A circular tile
The function is uncertain, but they could be kiln furniture, or perhaps are bakestones, used in a domestic oven. This was found with 14th century pottery.
The date range for the CBM is mostly 13th to 15th century but can go up to the 19th century
From the report….
“There are a few fragments of CBM which may be Roman in date.
This identification is based on the surface marks, moulding, or sometimes by examining the fabric.
The fragments amount to a ‘background noise’ rather than a definite strand of CBM on the site.
As only brick and tile with no definite Roman features (such as a cutaway) has been observed, it is possible that they are not Roman, but are CBM with a fabric that was used from the Roman period and into the medieval.”
Anne Jenner from the Yorkshire Archaeological Trust in York identified our pottery this week
We have a wide range of dates from 9th century to 20th century
It looks as though we have found some Viking age pottery
This pottery in the photograph is 12th-14th century
I would like to thank all the volunteers who helped with our project this year.
You have all been amazing thank you supporting us
Last Dig day
Unfortunately, the last 2 features in trench 1 we wanted to finish were filled with water
This is trench 3 which includes the moat
We spent the day doing the final recording of the trenches measuring the levels, cleaning the site and sorting the finds
We have 2 experts coming in the next 2 weeks to look at the finds. We are hoping they can give us dates for the different features through the identification of the pottery and tile.
Last week the 24th -26th of November was a lovely week. We had some really dry and warm days for late November
We concentrated on trench 1 which meant quite a squeeze with 6 people digging
We think we might have found either a kiln or an oven . There was layer of ash which contained lots of lovely broken bits of pot plus large pieces of bone.
There was also evidence of beam slots going round the edge of the feature
This week we concentrated on trench 1
Post holes kept appearing
Two post holes are cut through by the cesspit
Anothe one in the side of the trench close by and 2 more in the centre of the trench
The black circle of burning was removed and the brown sand underneath was cleaned away
This revealed an ash layer which contained lots of early pottery loads of baked clay on stones. Could these be from a kiln or oven?
Site of pottery kiln?
Corner of the west end of trench 1 showing cut through for foundation of a building
In the other part of the trench at the west end whilst recording the layers of different coloured sands the yellow layer had a cut through it down onto a brown sand layer which looks like it a robbed out foundation of the Folly building
We measured the size of the Folly on the ground and it fitted almost perfectly between trench 7 & trench 1
Phil, Roger, Mary, Malcolm and Margaret standing on the Folly
Brian Marsh with Jon at the ceremony
This week our archaeologist Dr Jon Kenny has been awarded
Community Archaeologist of the Year 2015 in London
Archaeological Investigation of Keesbury Manor
One day last week was fine so we cleaned up trench 1 (the one with the fireplace and cesspit)
I large circular area of burning was discovered under the level of the adjacent fireplace with a possible clay channel leading up to the circle. Wondered if this is a kiln with air inlet?
Since the open day we have managed a few more sessions on the site minus our archaeologist
The first trench near the gate……….trench 4…. this is the one that the school had investigated
The surface was cleaned and various features started to appear. .
It was mostly yellow sand with black patches of loam on the surface of the trench
One area of black soil close to the edge of the trench was a potential post hole so this was divided in two and the right side excavated first
The loam with lots of inclusions was gradually removed revealing a very deep post hole???
It appeared to be a pointed shape hole at the base……….possibly a sharpened post had been used Then the other side was cleaned back revealing packing of terracotta tiles and at the base it now showed up as a wide hole This suggested a substantial wooden post had been here at some time in the past.
More dig days
Tuesday 17th November Wednesday 18th November and Thursday 19th November
Tuesday 24th November, Wednesday 25th November and Thursday 26th November
These dates will be very much dependant on the weather being good
If you would like to join us please let us know
24th October Open day to celebrate the end of Lottery funded project
Mrs Joyce Payne gave a report on Keesbury Hall Close. She told us how she had inherited the site and her ideas for it’s future as a wildlife site
She also gave a wonderful tribute of thanks to Jon Kenny and me for all our hard work on the Keesbury project. She asked the audience to give us a round of applause.
This managed to embarrass both Jon & I
Liz and Joan looking at finds
Audience listening to Jon
Jon directing air traffic!!!
Trench 2 on guided tour
Refreshments including gooseberry cakes & pies
Next on the agenda the project…..Keesbury Manor Heritage Project ( from Cawood’s medieval manor to a gooseberry patch) was described
A list of the things we knew before we started (which was very little), the project itself, the visits and activities we had during the last 10 months.
I told the audience facts about the project…..over 450 people had taken part plus 100+ children, 23 dig days and 45 seperate events
I thanked all the volunteers for their dedication and participation in all the events, showing a collage of photographs of everyone who took part
Jon followed with his archaeological information
He took us through all the trenches, what we might be looking for, the different levels and the things we had found
Quite a few of the finds were on display in the hall. There were 2 display boards with photographs of the events, maps to which could be added fruit growing in the village, reports on the various surveys that had been done and refreshments made by myself, Jackie and Linda.
The guided tour of the site went well. Our archaeologist Jon showed the visitors all the trenches and interpretated the features that could be seen
About 30 people toured the site in the glorious sunshine.
Grand Opening of Tour
Looking at trench 7 features
A very wet day so only a couple of us were working on the trenches
Roger and Alison cleaned up trench 2 which we had left quite a while ago as nothing was showing up
Thought they might have found a ditch crossing the trench but still to be investigated
Finds were bagged and some chosen for display at the open day at school on Saturday
Next month we hope to invite some specialist tile and pottery experts to look at the finds
Started to tidy up the trenches ready for Saturday
We have worked out 4 more digging days at the end of November weather permitting
We will let everyone know when they are next week
Today turned out really good
Anne Marie and husband Gerry cleaning out a post hole in trench 1
Trench 7 was finished cleaned and photographed
The 2 post holes at the west end of trench 7 are quite substantial
Wondered if they may be supports for a bridge over the moat?
The exciting multi coloured sands were found to be just another layer of natural sand
The post hole in trench 1 was cleaned up and is quite large so could have suported a building
The limestones taken from the base of the drain in trench 7 were substantial in size. One had tool marked pattern on one side They were packed in with smaller pieces of stone. This base was vey well laid for a water course Was it once a wall of a building?
Matthew age 9 came to have a go at digging with our archaeologist after school, he loved it
We had a great day.The weather was good, dry and sunny
We managed to clean up trench 7 revealing layers of coloured sand which looked as though it had been deposited by water
A part of the sand layer was cleaned and it revealed a patterned sand.. yellow, white and black with very small inclusions. This was an exciting find but we did not have time to reveal more.
It was found under the medieval sands So far no dating evidence found
Fingers crossed for next Tuesday.
Roger cleaning the base of the drain
The school came to visit the site in the afternoon
They enjoyed watching the volunteers find artefacts from the soil. Lots of medieval pot was found.The children had a guided tour of the trenches, did washing of finds and had a go at digging in trench 4
We managed to dig in the morning but by lunchtime the heavens opened and torrential rain stopped play. The afternoon visit by the school had to be postponed until next week.
This gave us an opportunity to sort out the finds and get them ready for indentification at later date.
We have found so many finds…. mostly broken tile but quite a lot of bones ………..so maybe those who lived here like eating meat.There is a significant number of oyster shells in each trench so maybe the medieval diet wasnt so bad
Part of trench 7 shows a lumpy clay surface not sure what it is yet
A school visit
It was rather wet under foot today but this did not deter the children from Cawood school making a visit.
The classes were given the opportunity for hands on digging in one of the trenches.
Some children enjoyed washing finds and getting wet in the process and others had a tour of the site.
Malcolm explaining to the children how to dig a trench
They watched volunteers digging and saw lots of newts and baby frogs. The younger children were more interested in the wildlife than in muddy holes in the ground.
Each class came with such delight and enthusiasm it was hard to stop them from taking over the trenches.
Our archaeologist demonstrated how to search for finds, giving each one a bucket and trowel to remove the soil. We showed them a tray of 18th century finds from a rubbish tip which included part of a shovel, bones, large heavy pieces of pottery and oyster shells.
At the same time as the children were visiting our volunteers continued to dig, finding 2 post holes and an interesting clay suface where maybe cows had trodden in the past.
the surface in the past
In the afternoon the best find so far was found sandwiched between two pieces of pottery in trench 7. A bone tool could be abodkin or stiletto
A bone tool used for making holes in fabric or leather was found. It was so smooth to touch and had been well made. This is our first whole object found
All our other finds are broken pieces of tile pot or brick
Trench 4, the one closest to the entrance on Keebury, was prepared for the children from the village school to spend a day learning to be archaeologists at the begining of next week
In this trench it’s hoped to find evidence of a gatehouse which appears on the 1775 Enclosure map of the village.
Jon Kenny surveyed the site today using Total Station survey equipment
111 points were recorded to enable the trenches to be correctly postioned on the OS map.
This was quite hard work as the nettles are waist high in places and we needed to be able to get the laser throught the tall plants to the otherside of the field.
It was lucky Jon had chosen to wear his yellow bumble bee shirt so he could be spotted 500 yards way.
Another good day for digging
Lots of volunteers came so much progress was made
Post holes kept appearing in different parts of 2 trenches
Post hole in trench 1
Post hole in side of trench 1
The layer above the hole has fallen into the space which could be the remains of a post hole.
A lovely warm, dry day perfect for digging.
Roger in trench 7
At the west end of trench 1, Martin, Malcolm and Phil with great effort took off the turf for another couple of meters
This gave us chance to see the different layers that made up the mound.
They worked through a layer of small pieces of brick, tile and stones with quite a few finds of pottery. It was extremely hard work
Once this layer was removed the yellow sandy layer appeared that matched the up- cast of the mound. Below this it’s thought there is a medieval layer of dark clay. Pottery dated 1150 was found at this level.
A very wet day. You have to admire those who like to dig in the mud in the pouring rain.
That will be Martin, Barry and Cathy…thanks
Trench 1 working back from the west end towards the centre removing a layer of grey clay. This could be a medieval layer Earlier found fine pottery here
At this end it’s easy to see the layers of the mound as it has been built up over time
Cleaned back the surface of the trench to reveal evidence of burning or dark soil
At the other end towards the west a fragment of what looks like early pottery was found below the medieval layer
Continued to excavate a feature which looks like a fireplace.
The roof tiles were laid on their edge to make a pattern in the clay A small border was found made of broken pieces of Millstone Grit which is not found in this locality unless it’s used for grinding corn.
The markings on the stone have been made deliberatly and one piece has a curved edge
When the tiles were removed they fell into small fragments. This could be as a result of heat. They were sitting on black soil which could be from a fire
Finished cleaning the line of stones which resembles an early drain
By looking again at the maps it’s possible to see that this feature lines up with a possible medieval house in next door’s garden. If only we could investigate there?
Continued down the hole we think is a cess pit. The shelf in the base of the hole of Tudor bricks was removed. They did not extend into the clay side The hole is lined with grey clay.
The base has grey ash on top of yellow sand and clay
Cleaned up the drain feature …..nothing was found to date the drain yet
16th September 2015
Will try and resume digging today. The weather really turned out great …..dry warm and sunny
We continued to open the channel in trench 7 and it extends to the north approx 7 feet in length
The stones are level on the inside of the channel and uneven where they meet the soil There is some evidence of cover made from a tile to go on the row of stones
15th September 2015
Too wet to dig today.
The trenches have a lot of water in them and are very muddy
Tomorrow the weather forcast is bad again so if it is very wet then we shall go through the finds and record them
Hopefully the ground will dry out on Thursday so we can have another go then
Better weather today… cloudy but dry.
Continued to remove dumping from the possible cess pit.
Chris working in Trench 1
Tudor bricks? in the base
After the dumping of bricks and tiles were removed a layer of neatly laid bricks and tiles were found at the base… possibly of Tudor origin.
These were only laid along one side of the each pit but in a double layer
We have still to understand what this means
In the centre there was a layer of grey ash then sand then more grey ash then clay.
In trench 7 where we are trying to locate the foundations of an old porch or cottage that was on the site until 1980, we have found a row of large magnesium limestone blocks with tile inserts
This could be the base of the wall of the building but looks also like it might be something else now as we can’t find where it turns to become the front of the building. This trench has distinct types of soil. The west end is rich black garden soil where we found piles of broken pot and the east end of the trench has clumps of grey clay and yellow sand with very few bits of pottery.
Jon, Jenny and Alison cleaning up trench 7
Stones in trench 7
8th September 2015
Back again after a short break to murky, damp and cloudy day
It is very wet underfoot. Eventually as we were leaving the sun came out!
Some of the trenches are sporting a covering of thistles
Four volunteers came today and worked very hard in trench 1
Mary removing brick dumping from trench 1
This is the trench in which we hope to find evidence for a house
In this trench the volunteers removed the brick rubble to reveal clay walls and up to late yesterday, a brick floor, but this could change today when the pit is cleaned up
Trench 1 possible cess pit
Current thinking is it might be a cesspit. Jon, our archaeologist, got very excited that we might has a cess pit here. Funny the type of things that excite people???
In trench 7, where we hope to find the building or folly which was once standing on the site up to 1980, we found some high status glazed and decorated pottery. Also a line of magnesium limestone has appeared across the centre of the trench. The rain washed away the surface to reveal a small wall
At the end closest to the road, one of the volunteers found masses of pottery and glass just under the turf, which could be the site of a rubbish tip. Some of it looks to be 18th century so a possible link to an 18th century dwelling nearby?
22nd August 2015
We have just completed 4 days of digging in 2 trenches. The weather was very hot and humid which made it difficult to work. We are very grateful to the volunteers who came along and excavated the trenches for us. They have been amazing!
Kneeling in the trenches for hours, endlessly washing terracotta tile and brick and lifting large lumps of smelly black clay couldn’t have been easy.
In trench 3 you can see in the soil a mixture of mortar flecks, brick and charcoal which could indicate cultivation over a period of time.
Mary, Martin & Phil excavating trench 3
At the far end of this trench, where we were investigating part of the moat, the water table appeared in the ditch making it quite difficult to dig.
There is evidence of dumping of bricks and stones possibly to support a growing area on the platform. This is held in place by lots of branches, some of them are quite large and stakes, of what could be, oak.
On top of this was placed Victorian land drains.
Trench 1 is a large level site with evidence of infilling or dumping. We worked on 2 parts of this trench The top end had a layer of very dark soil and the bottom of the trench was drier with lots of dunpling material.Under the black soil was clay in a variety of colours.
One end had large amounts of brick and mortar in a jumble with some medieval pot and many animal bones. The top of the trench had piles of roof tiles then after these were removed, lots of evidence of a fire.This showed as orange and red in colour in the clay
Orange clay shows signs of a fire
Beneath this clay we found a small post hole with the surround still intact. This was made of mortar with lots of broken shell mixed in. It could be for part of a house…..fingers crossed it’s the medieval house!
Lots of finds have been recorded including a fine pig’s tusk, medieval pottery and a honing tool (for sharpening knives etc)
A pig’s tusk found by Master Lees, a Honing tool and Medieval pottery found in trench 1
19th to the 22nd August digging Keesbury
So far we have great success but it’s really hard work working in a field of uncut hay for 4 days!!!!
After the “giant mole” dug 5 trenches we discovered in trench 3 some wooden structure
made from branches
Pipes found in trench
This was in the moat end of trench 3.
There were a row of Victorian drain pipes lying on top of the wood
These could be a support for the moat side or a water management system to stop the soil washing away into the moat or just something to put the drain pipes onto
The rest of the trench was mixed soil with lots of small pieces of brick and mortar which showed ploughing or digging over a long period
Suggestion has been made that this site was used to grow cabbages during WW2
In trench 1 where we are searching for the medieval manor house.There is a large area of burning, lots of brick tile and mortar and a lovely piece of medieval glazed pot.
Group discussing trench
12th August Keesbury Manor
We started work on the trenches we had opened yesterday and some exciting archaeology was found in trench 1.
Jon Kenny cleaning the trench 1
We are looking for evidence in trench 1 of the medieval manor house where the Cawood family could have lived. This is a large trench so we decided to look at the smaller ones first.
We started with trench 2 to investigate a raised area in the field. We thought it might show modern dumping from the construction of the houses nearby but the trench was quite clean. This means so far we have no evidence to show why this area is raised. A small number of finds came out of the trench mostly brick & tile.
Volunteers at work in trench 2 Jon Kenny briefing the volunteers
Then we looked at trench 3 which was much more interesting. This is on the far side of the moated platform including part of the moat and features seen on the resistivity survey
Daisy & Barry excavating a brick feature Jon Kenny discussing the trench
Here we found the moat with dark heavy clay at one end and further up the trench a small area of bricks with broken piece of pot along one edge. As we uncovered the feature, a very well laid platform of bricks appeared. Under this was just soil so far…… not sure what date it was .
It looked like a small platform to support something horticultural such as a water tank.
Pieces of broken pot found with the bricks Mud in the moat
11th August Keesbury Manor
With permission from the owner, Historic England and the Lottery we were able to employ a driver with a JCB and a smooth bucket to remove the turf from the trenches.
This has made such an amazing difference to the work that we would have needed to do to remove the grass, most of it being about 4 feet high.The land has not been thoroughly cultivated for centuries. We think cabbages were planted in WW2 on the platform and in 1933 gooseberry bushes were grown somewhere on the site.
We were able to open all the trenches in one day. Our thanks to Wrights of Crockey Hill whose driver Dave was so expert at his job that he could be so precise where the grass was to be removed.
We opened 5 trenches in places where the resisitivity survey showed possible anomalies below ground.
Dave the Digger man
Jon Kenny, archaeologist, Dave the digger man & Roger Wetherell a volunteer measuring the start of a trench
Margaret Brearley & Jon Kenny supervising or “getting in the way” !
Plese read the following report: Keesbury Geophys Report
Tuesday 23rd June
Seventeen volunteers came to first meeting for the dig
It was a dry, dull day to start then the sun came out later
Margaret and Jon Kenny gave a talk about the project using maps on the display board with survey details produced by Margaret
Refreshment by Jackie Grey and Joyce Payne Gazebo thanks to Tony Grey,
Our first trench is numbered 5 (we will be doing more trenches later in the summer)
Purpose of the this trench is to find dating evidence for what we believe might be a medieval ditch running down Broad Lane and ending in the previously filled Pipera Pond at the corner of Wistowgate and Broad Lane
Along the side of the road, on the left, going towards the school and beyond there is evidence of a ditch with varying degrees of slope into the properties.
Whilst we wait for Scheduled Monument Consent from Historic England for the Keesbury site, we investigated the garden of 15 Broad Lane (which is not scheduled by H.E.)
We opened a trench in Mrs. Payne’s front garden 3m x 2m down the slope towards the hedge and road
We removed the turf and carefully stacked it to one side to replace later
Then removed a first spit depth of garden soil from the whole trench which only showed garden soil with some brick stone and limestone pieces.
It was decided to dig deeper in the bottom of trench area 1 metre across and down to end of trench about 30 inches in depth. This brought up quite a few finds showing it was not a natural deposit
Finds: medieval pot shards, small pieces of floor tiles, terracotta pot marble from a bottle, small bits of brick, handmade tile, bits of stone, magnesium limestone pieces and 18-19th century pottery bits
Not much sign of pot etc in deeper part of front garden trench
Our second trench was at the far side of Keesbury Field with Historic England’s permission
Purpose of the this trench is to identify features found on the resistivity survey and understand their significance at this end of the site
The grass was very long with nettles so had to make a pathway through. Very hard going through the long grass
Opened this 2nd trench in the Keesbury field 3m x 3m trench in the bottom part of the field over a feature found on the geophysical survey
This trench was very hard to dig trying to get through the grass roots. The soil underneath was fine and easy to dig. We removed the turf and 1 spit of soil
Finds: a metal ring from harness a 1700’s clay pipe, some brick shards and later an 18th century glazed pot shard , a piece of a nail, more clay pipe pieces, stones, limestone pieces and brick shards.
Pottery found in Trench 6
The finds showed evidence of ploughing in 18th and 19th century but not ridge and furrow ploughing
Wednesday 24th June
Thirteen volunteers came back the second day
Trench 5 (in garden)
Thanks to Linda Shortt who came with her metal detector to check the spoil heaps for metal
Lovely sunny day …bit too hot at times
Trench in the garden a bit disappointing Found black clay below the garden soil which was very heavy to move with a few inclusions of brick and some pottery so not a natural layer.
below the black clay was a yellowish brown layer of clay which also had inclusions again showing it was not natural
Volunteers broke up the soil to look for finds hidden inside the clumps It was very good quality clay
Finds: small boulder stones which were very smooth, some brick, stones and pottery
Last finds in trench 5
Cleaned up the surface of the trench to see if we could identify different colours of earth in order to find any ditches which would show up as a variation in colours
Dug down 1 spit of a spade in a smaller area 1 ½ m x 2 m in the corner and found golden coloured sand/clay and clay pipe pieces
Finds Some medieval pottery and some late 18th pot, small pieces of brick,clay pipe pieces but not many finds
Washed the finds.. bagged and labelled them Going back tomorrow to close the trenches down
Photo shows clay layers
Thursday 25th June
Eight volunteers today Another dry warm day. Sunny later
Barry had cleaned up the bottom of the pit which showed grey clay of good quality……..could have made a pot with it
Dug down in one corner but found the same clay it seemed to be changing colour to a greyish brown
This had small pieces of brick and one small piece of glazed pot as yet unidentified
Decide to close down this trench as too difficult to remove the clay
Before doing so we used a measure to determine the different levels of the land surfaces from the road side of the hedge and the garden
We left a mark on the house so we can line up the other trenches at a later date
Finds were washed Trench filled in and grass re-laid
Trench in field ready to close down
Checked spoil heap for metal – nothing found
On the soil heap found some nice glazed pot pieces, more brick and stones
Took environmental samples to test for Ph value of soil and pollen at a later date
Dug down 2 spits of spade in the corner of the trench to find grey and yellow sand which is probably natural
Filled the trench in and re-laid the turf
To view/download the results of the Keesbury Geophys Report click here