The 2015 Season – part 2

We moved to the wooded area where the limestone blocks can be seen as walls. We took a measured area was marked out and worked within this section clearing around the walls to determine what they formed. We found lots of fairly modern stuff including things dumped in the wood in recent years.

Two important finds were the halves of tops of quern stones. These also give date to the site as one was found in the wall the other close by. John Bowler’s report on the quern stones show how he has dated these to the Iron Age.

QuernsTwo upper halves of two ‘Beehive’ Rotary Quern Stones found at Wier/Wern Wood, Rhewl Farm, Shirenewton in July 2015. The better preserved one on the left is approx 440 mm [18 inches] in diameter by 200 mm [8 inches] thick and has a grinding surface at 15° to the horizontal and probably dates from the early Roman period [c 100 AD]. The one on the right is of similar dimensions but its grinding surface is at 10° to the horizontal making it of later date from the Middle Roman period [c 200-300 AD].

Details of construction varies from period to period and Curwen’s broad outline is as follows:

Quern 1Pre-Roman (From 100 BC)
Diameter: 12 to 14 inches, Thickness upper stone: 6 to 8 inches, Angle of grinding surface: circa 20 degrees.

Quern 2

Early Roman
Diameter: circa 15 inches, Thickness upper stone: circa 2½ inches, Angle of grinding surface: 15 degrees or less.

Quern 3

Later Roman
Diameter: 20 inches or more, Thickness of upper stone: 2 to 2½ inches, Angle of grinding surface: 10 degrees or less.

Quern 4Late Roman
Diameter: variable, Thickness of upper stone: thin, Angle of grinding surface: 3 degrees or less.

The first type is shaped like a beehive and the latter consists of two flat discs, the general change through the years being obvious.

We also excavated an area following dowsing adjacent to the ‘walls’ and identified a circle of post holes which seem to be the right size for a round house.

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Another breakthrough came, as it always does, towards the end of the season when two pieces of pottery were found. These shards have been identified by Peter Webster, NMW, as from the Iron Age.

Pottery1

Pottery2

We found no flints or metal work nor yet have we found evidence of hearths but unfortunately this site will have been trampled over by farm stock and humans over the years.

The digging up of the pottery is an incentive for the coming year when hopefully we will discover more evidence of Iron Age or earlier settlement.