Day 23 – The west wall revealed

We have at last got to inspect in more detail the area where we think the west wall of the nave lay.  When this area was cleaned initially back on Day 10, there was a fragment of the tell-tale pink mortar in a place that would make the nave twice the length of the chancel.

02 Aug the west wall

What we can now see is that the west wall has been cut by graves and these have stranded a single fragment of the wall.  However, we are now confident that this is the west wall of the Anglo-Saxon church and we now have its full dimensions.

In the chancel, the child burial that was being excavated yesterday has been lifted.  The place where this burial was is the whiter patch to the right of the picture.

02 Aug burials in chancel

 

If you look carefully at the picture above, you will see a fragment of skull just to the left of the burial that has been removed.  Below is a close-up.

02 Aug burials in chancel

The skull is a juvenile, in a grave below the one that has already been excavated.  The long bones towards the bottom of the picture are an arm and a leg.  These are also of a juvenile, because the growing points of the bones are not fused as they are in adults who have stopped growing.  But these bones are too big for the skull, thus they represent at least one, possibly two more burials that may be cutting the grave with the skull.  This is a confused situation, but sadly a common one in church yards where graves were usually not marked and thus were regularly disturbed by later burials.  A fragment of pottery has been recovered from the grave fill of a date around the time we think the church was built, though this does not mean the grave is of this date.  It is simply a sherd that was lying around on the ground at the time of the burial.

02 Aug chancel

The layers in the chancel are slowly being removed.  We have now reached bedrock beneath the chancel arcade pier just to the side of the porch.  The ground level here is quite a bit below the level beneath the other pier to the left in the picture.  The section across the nave immediately behind the left-hand pier shows how much ground has been removed this week.  The sandbags are there to provide a step so the diggers can actually get out of the chancel without damaging the section edge.

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