Cardiff Studies in Archaeology - Specialist Report Number 18

MOUND 2A

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The main area opened up on mound 2A was roughly 12 m by 14 m and was oriented on the axis of the house revealed in the 1999 excavation (Figure 7). Two long trenches were also excavated; that to the north was 10 m by 2 m wide and that to the east was 8.5 m by 2 m wide. The excavation was primarily concerned with the examination of the middens surrounding the buildings in the centre of the trench and so work was concentrated on the excavation of the two extension trenches and areas around the periphery. This was useful in revealing the sequence of activity in this part of the site.

The deposits in the two extension trenches was fairly consistent in their overall sequence. They begin with sterile wind blow sand, which in the eastern trench was only 0.20 m above the water table. The first archaeological deposit was a red brown midden layer that sealed a series of plough marks oriented roughly east west. These deposits contained a large amount of animal bone, but very few fish bones. Artefacts included iron clench nails, simple bone pins and bone weaving tablets. The former would indicate a Norse date, but the pins were not diagnostic.

Above the cultivation soil was a thick layer of light grey sand, which exhibited some variation in colour and compaction. This deposit contained very little material to indicate human activity in this area, other than a few bones and shells. The deposit is likely to represent gradual accumulation of sand trapped by the vegetation when very little human activity was occurring on the eastern side of the mound. However, on the western side of the mound these grey sand deposits contained large quantities of slag and must be associated with some form of high temperature industrial process. The focus of these deposits appears to be a structure just inside the north west corner of the area excavated but this was only partially exposed by this year's excavation and only further excavation will reveal its nature.

The grey sand deposits were sealed by a thick brown midden deposit containing large quantities of fish and animal bones and a range of artefactual material, which suggests a date in the late Norse period. The deposits in the eastern extension were thicker and richer than those in the northern extension and it is also clear that these midden layers were not deposited on the west side of this mound. Large quantities of antler waste and offcuts from comb production were found in the east extension but were absent from the north extension.

These middens were associated with a series of structures, which lie at the centre of the mound. This year's excavation was not primarily concerned with the excavation of these structures but it was clear that a complex sequence of buildings was present. The sequence was clearest on the west side of the building where two wall faces were exposed inside an east west oriented building. These were then cut across by the north south oriented building excavated in 1999. Unfortunately the north and south walls of this structure have proved to be very elusive and it seems likely that these were made from timber and a possible post hole on the line of the north wall was eventually identified in section. Floor deposits inside the penultimate house survived behind the north wall of the 1999 house and these contained a large deposit of comb making debris.

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