The Site

 

Archaeological investigation at Gordons Lodge is centred on two linked ditched enclosures evident as crop marks on aerial photographs (indicated by a dotted line on the photo right).

Also shown are old field boundaries and medieval ridge and furrow.

The upper enclosure is 0.32 acres and the lower enclosure is 1.3 acres.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Upper Enclosure

Excavation in the upper enclosure revealed the limestone footings of a building 11.5m x 5m and an associated area of industrial activity.

 

Set within the  south wall of the building is a key hole shaped oven (shown right).

                                                                                                   

Some substantial pieces of dressed building stone, including a corbel

in the shape of a head, were recovered during excavation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finds from this area of the site include animal bone, a substantial amount of domestic pottery, horseshoe fragments, and used horseshoe nails, A small pair of tweezers, a short cross penny dating to the reign of King John, (Northampton mint) and a decorated bone knife handle.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also recovered was a curb bit, a rare form  of horse bit, shown right during excavation.

 

Subsequently cleaned and X-rayed, the curb bit was reproduced by blacksmith Hector Cole during a Time Team program on the site in 2005. The copy was tested in practice by a rider experienced in historical re-enactment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pottery finds indicate that this part of the site was occupied between c1100 and c1225.

 

 

 

The Lower Enclosure

Excavation continues in the lower enclosure following on from work conducted by Time Team in 2005. Their work revealed an area of hearths and post holes identified as being a possible bake house, surrounded by ditches. Pottery recovered from he ditches indicated that this part of the site was occupied sometime between the 11th and 13th centuries. GLAFS excavation work is concentrating on an adjoining area revealed, but not fully identified, by the Time Team dig. This comprises, beneath stone rubble, the foundations of a circular building  7m in diameter, constructed of clay bonded limestone with a wall 1m thick.

 

An ongoing resistivity survey suggests that there may be a number of similar structures in the vicinity.

 

Trenches dug in previous years to cut sections through the enclosure ditch indicates that it was open in the medieval period. This does not preclude the possibility that it was originally cut at an earlier date. Bronze Age pottery has been recovered from a trench within the enclosure.

 

With fieldwork, research and post excavation analysis all continuing conclusions about the site are tentative. However the evidence to date suggests that both enclosures were occupied at the same time (c1100 to c1225) though the lower enclosure seems to have remained in use until later in the thirteenth century or even into the early fourteenth century.

 

The upper enclosure contained a rectangular building used at least in part as a dwelling. Industrial activities including probably blacksmithing probably also took place there.

 

The lower enclosure, from geophysics results, aerial photography and ongoing excavation seems to have contained a number of structures and working areas linked by a track or path running across the enclosure. Food preparation and industrial activity took place, but so far no dwellings have been identified.

 

The size and layout of the upper enclosure is consistent with an isolated farmstead. However the primary function of the lower enclosure is unclear.

The conclusion arrived at in the Time Team program on the site, that it comprised a pig processing plant, does not appear to be born out by the available evidence and is not supported by the Wessex Archaeology report on that excavation. It is hoped that continuing investigation will clarify the function of the lower enclosure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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