Location: Mucklestone, Staffordshire
Dates: Beginning 8th April 2018, no end date specified
Cost: See full details below
Training / Experience: No restrictions
Here is what we believe to be the 17th C bread oven, newly-revealed. In this view looking north, you can see the remains of the burnt beam between rows of stones, forming the base of the oven’s front wall [Photo Credit: Dave Thomas]
A SOTMAS member and resident of Mucklestone, learned that whenever a field called “Old House Field” is ploughed, an area of dark soil emerges containing pottery sherds. Field walking the site identified an area of darker soil with a high concentration of pottery fragments, mostly dating from the early 18th Century.
In 2013 and early 2014 magnetometry surveys and trial excavations revealed what appeared to be evidence of a bread oven.
In 2016 we confirmed that this was indeed the location of a bread oven, which from the pottery sherds we found in and around the debris seems to have collapsed, apparently following a disastrous fire, sometime in the 17th Century.
In 2017 excavation revealed some intriguing features: ditches, post holes, possibly a gateway, and possibly a corn drying pit. We think that maybe the ditches surrounded a fenced enclosure in which crops were grown in a small way. Towards the end of the year’s dig, we investigated a small area along the S baulk of the whole site. Here we found many nails, which tended to be aligned, and a lot of pottery sherds. Maybe the house was S or SE of the oven. In this position, the prevailing wind would have carried smoke from the oven away from the house.
The search for the house will continue.
Costs: Membership of the society is mandatory, as required by our insurers. Membership is £20 pa, or £10 for students. No food, accommodation or transport is provided, so diggers would need to budget for these.
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