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Wick Cottage – archaeological dig

Over the weekend of the 27th & 29th July 2019 the Charney Archaeological Group carried out a dig in the grounds of Wick Cottage. This was the third archaeological dig that we have carried out in the Village. Over 20 people participated including four from Littleworth. We dug two 1 m² test pits [TP8 & TP9] in an area where two buildings, that no longer exist, were shown on the 1765 Keck map.

The dig was supervised by David Ashby of the University of Winchester.

A general overview with some pictures is given below. More detailed reports have been produced by David Ashby (April 2020) and are available in the following PDFs and these give us a great additional insight into the history and life in the village:
Test Pit 8 Report – Wick Cottage
Test Pit 9 Report – Wick Cottage.

In Test Pit 9 we found demolition rubble, wall plaster and nails and a variety of artifacts such as Roman, Saxon and medieval pottery, window glass, clay tobacco pipes, metal buttons and other pieces of metal. Possibly, most interestingly, at the bottom, we found a drainage ditch, cut into the natural limestone surface, which appears to be Neolithic in date and contained butchered animal bones and flint including a still razor-sharp flint blade, this is the oldest evidence of occupation within the village so far discovered.

The clay pipe, in the pictures above, has a cartouche with the letters ‘SH’. According to The National Pipe Archive for Oxfordshire this pipe was made S Huggins or S&T Huggins of Banbury between 1851-1855 (a similar date to the mummers play!). An article in the Banbury History Society magazine gives a lot of information on the making and age diagnostics of clay pipes.

Test pit 8, although close by, was very different; it had no rubble and had neolithic and mesolithic flint tools and flakes throughout its depth showing that the site was used for making tools over a long period.

Thanks go to everybody involved and particularly to David Ashby for supporting our dig. Special thanks go to Trevor and Annabel for hosting the dig.

Finds Washing

The finds were washed on 15 Sept 2019 and had a preliminary sort. 

In these two pits we have found more medieval pottery than all the other pits we have dug in Charney put together and show probable continuous occupation in that area since Neolithic times. Flint does not occur naturally in Charney, although some may have been washed in by streams. The sheer quantity of neolithic and mesolithic flint tools and flakes which we found in Test Pit 8, throughout its depth shows that flint was brought to the site which was specifically used for making tools over a long period. There are similar sites elsewhere along rivers which people seem to have chosen to set up their tool manufacturing.