Today at Clare Castle saw steady progress as excavation progressed on the features exposed, cleaned and planned yesterday.
As the morning progressed, early concerns that the northernmost burial might turn out to be nothing more than a disarticulated skull (as the first burial mostly is) turned out to be unfounded as volunteers carefully picked away at the deposits overlying the area east of the skull to gradually reveal more and more of the most intact burial excavated so far at Clare Castle. Indications so far are that this may also turn out to be most ornate, with its head supported on a pillowstone, possibly some sort of chalk underlying its shoulders, and indications that the grave may have been partly lined with stones. We look forward to more information about this tomorrow when the whole skeleton and grave cut will have been exposed.
Steady progress was also made on cleaning and recording the headless burial, and by the end of the day excavation of the ‘wall’ to its west had also begun, to try and see how the two features relate to each other. We have been thinking that the wall must post-date the burial and have disturbed the head when it was built, but this may not necessarily have been the case: we shall see…
Cleaning of the third (headless) burial under way on Day 3: the bucket is on top of the white-ish possible wall feature, while the right arm is unusually positioned diagonally across the body
Volunteer diggers Ellie and Tom measure and draw the section of a wide shallow ditch of probable prehistoric date which appears to cut across the site and be the earliest feature on this part of the site, perhaps pre-dating the cemetery activity by as much as three thousand years
By the end of the day, three skeletons, only one of which appears to be complete, had been amost entirely exposed. The main issue to tackle tomorrow will be try and make sense of the structural features which are so close to the burials and may hold the key to understanding the sequence of Anglo-Saxon and medieval activity here.