Friday, 26 September 2008

Bulletin 23 (September 2008)


GWAG first visited Honor Oak Park in August 2007, following liaison with Friends of One Tree Hill, to investigate site of a WW1 gun emplacement and its environs. The activities that weekend consisted of cleaning up and recording the gun emplacement, carrying out geophysical and metal detector surveys and excavating a small number of test pits. Although there were tantalising glimpses of possible evidence of Great War occupation, it was felt that further investigation was necessary to try to locate structures and activity associated with the emplacement.

GWAG therefore returned for a further weekend of work in September 2008.

Trench 1 showing metalled surface and plinth

The Friends of One Tree Hill and GWAG both recognised the vital importance of oral history as well as archaeological investigation into this popular recreational area and the weekends investigation was publicised widely in the local area, to attract visitors, in particular those with memories or stories to tell.

A further metal detector survey was conducted, as well as a visual check of the morphology of the site, and a number of areas for excavation were identified.

Trench 1 was sited to the south of the emplacement in a grassy area devoid of shrubbery. A roughly laid metalled surface was located, which continued under the modern path. A plinth of rough stone was set onto this surface, next to an area of clay. When the trench was extended to ascertain the southerly extent of the surface an area of intense burning was located, along with a large number of finds including complete half pint milk bottles, pottery, glass, and metal objects including three cast iron objects, one of which appears to a grate and other two the sides of a stove. Nearby a cast iron tray was located.

Trench 2 was located to the east of the site. Evidence for the edge of the metalled surface was located, but nothing in the way of finds.

Trench 3 was sited adjacent to the gun emplacement to identify the relationship of the steps to the emplacement with ‘crazy paving’ leading south east. The metalled surface was located here as well, and appeared to be contemporary with the emplacement and its steps.

Trench 3 Ian H clears thistles to find more metalling

Trench 4 was placed in the area of the only thistles on the site, in an attempt to locate a possible latrine. This was not fully excavated due to time constraints, and only a continuation of the metalled surface was identified, with a possible edge to the south.

It is clear that the area generally to the south of the gun emplacement was metalled in what appears to be hasty manner. Although there were few datable finds from period being investigated, the archaeological evidence together with the known history of the site suggests that this surface was placed over an extensive area to facilitate the building and manning of the gun emplacement.

The full report for this site will follow.

GWAG would like to thank the friends of One Tree Hill for their support and assistance with this project.

A Gallery of pictures associated with this year's work is available here

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