With the arrival of the mini-digger, we were able to start removing the tarmac path in the Old Churchyard today.
By the end of the day, we were still not down to the chalk bedrock, so the natural ground surface is either a lot lower than it is only a short distance away in the New Churchyard beyond the boundary wall, or it has been excavated away. We are not sure yet, and have not come down on any archaeological features to indicate what is going on.
However, we have been getting some interesting finds coming out of the trench. They are all unstratified, so just mixed up in the soil. However, they do give clues to a range of activity in the vicinity, over quite a period of time.
This appears to be Roman brick. There is quite a lot of this built into the church itself, so may be left over from when the church was built. It has probably been brought from a Roman site elsewhere, as there is no evidence for people living in Lyminge during the Roman period. Perhaps this came from the fort at Lympne (Stutfall Castle), as the port of the monastery at Lyminge was at Sandtun (West Hythe) very close by.
This is late Saxon pottery, probably made locally.
This is the base of a probably 14th Century green glazed vessel. The base of the vessel is to the left of the picture and the side of the vessel to the right. You can see finger imprints around the edge of the base, which is running up the middle of this picture.
This is iron slag. It is vitrified, so has obviously been heated to a very high temperature.
While the digging was going on, the viewing platform was completed. It will provide a very good view over the excavations once they begin.
This is the view of the porch from the viewing platform. It will be interesting to see how this view changes as we uncover what we believe is the Anglo-Saxon church that runs underneath the porch.
You get a sense of what is there from the engraving dating to 1861.