Both the Archaeology group and the History group were delighted to announce the results of the village digs from 2012, which were presented on February 12th in the Methodist Chapel in the village. Twenty-four people attended.

Summary of the Playclose dig

Address: The Play Close, Blewbury, Oxon

GPS position and height: 453016 185815 69m

Property owner: Parochial Church Council

Area Excavated: 1.5 x 1.0 m

Orientation: N-S

Date of excavation: 26-27 May 2012

Weather conditions: Dry and sunny

Pit Leader: Dave Carless

Excavators: Mark Palethorpe, Alison Palethorpe, Jackie Maguire, Wendy Carless

History: The Play Close was formerly in the Great Manor. No known occupation or other buildings. Part owned by John Phillips Esq (Lord of Great Manor) and part by William Boham in 1805. Part owned by John Shawe Phillips Esq (Lord of Great Manor) and part by the Church Commissioners in 1841.

Report by: Dave Carless

Summary of excavation and findings:

The pit was located in a public area near the centre of the village in which there has been no known occupation for at least 200 years. Following removal of turf (50mm) material was excavated by mattock, fork and shovel in artificial spits of 100mm depth. Below 250mm there were small chalk inclusions and natural chalk was reached at 450mm. This was confirmed by a sondage to 400mm and augering to 650mm. All material was sieved (10mm) and spoil checked with a metal detector. The ground appeared to be undisturbed. No CBM. There were a few modern finds and a few medieval pot fragments. One 17th C and one 15th C coins was found. These were a Rose Farthing of Charles 1 and a half Groat of Henry 6th.

Test Pit 03 - Playclose (approx 60 yards from B 04.

0 – 50mm. Turf.

No finds or features.  

50 – 190mm.

Homogenous mid brown top soil with grass roots and very few small flints and stones.

Few flints (up to 30mm), button with traces of gilding (1), bone (2), glass (3), large Fe nail, Fe staple, clay pipe bowl, pipe bowl fragment, pipe stems (2), glass(?) button half, cream glazed ceramic (2), cbm (1)  

190 – 250mm.

Mid- brown sub-soil. Starting to get a little more gravelly towards 250mm. Several large flints and cobble stones (~100mm), chalky inclusions also appearing further down along with small flints and stones (~10-15mm)

Pottery sherds, clay pipe stem, fossil (Devil’s toenail), animal bones, ceramic ‘marbles’ (2) one of which was incised with lines. Small Fe object resembling a tuning pin.  

250 – 350 mm.

Slightly lighter brown sub-soil than B0302 with small (10mm) chalk inclusions <5%. Less stony.

Medieval pottery sherds, pot rim, animal bone, pipe stem, CBM, flint (possibly worked?)  

350 – 450mm.

Light brown sub-soil of very loose consistency.

Animal bone, pottery sherds, teeth (2), CBM. Spherical object (another ‘marble or natural flint nodule). Noticeably less finds than previous spits.  

450 – 550mm.

Light brown soil with small chalk inclusions. Starting to get a slightly stickier consistency and somewhat harder to sieve.

Small amount of pottery, bone, teeth (2) and Fe wire (staple?).  

550 – 650mm

Similar to 05 above but getting stickier. Small chalk pieces, flints and stones. Still getting finds but less.

Bone, pottery, Fe nail shaft.  

Sondage 650 – 750mm.

Placed in NW corner (500 x 500mm)

Soil became increasingly chalky and sticky approaching 700mm

Bone, snail shells (2), pottery sherd (1)  

Augered in centre of sondage 750 – 900

Natural chalk.