During the week commencing 9th December 2013, archaeological excavation of the upper levels of the site have revealed three adult cattle skeletons dating to the late 1800’s and most likely related to the rinderpest (cattle plague) pandemics which affected Britain in the 18th century. The excavation of the three skeletons took most of that week to uncover. With a mortality rate as high as 90%, attempts were made by the government to curb the spread of this virulent viral disease. This involved the cull of cattle at an early stage of infection with farmers encouraged by a compensation scheme to register diseased animals. A larger collection of cattle (45 individuals) dating to the same period were found at the recent British Museum excavations undertaken by PCA.
Also, two wells have been revealed on the site, one of which contains a number of ceramic items including cups, tableware etc., from the late 1800’s.
Seems like our Volunteers have already found more than they were expecting.
For more pictures including the wells please click Gallery.
My name is Delwar Hussein, aged 34; I’m a local lad and live down Elephant and Castle. One of the reasons that I volunteered was purely the chance to help out the mosque. I have a lot of spare time during the day as I work during the evening and I thought “Why not, do something for the community?” That’s one of the main
reasons that I volunteered. I was also quite interested in archaeology, I see quite a lot of television programmes and one of the programmes that I kind of watched now and again is called the Time Team on Channel 4, I always found it fascinating the type of work they do. And when this opportunity arrives I thought why not take it up and give it a go.
I’m one week into the archaeological dig and I found the training which PCA provided very interesting, they touched on various topics, and different things they do; to be honest with you it’s more in depth than I actually thought. When I initially used to watch them archaeology programmes on TV all I thought that they did was a bit of digging and pick up bits and pieces and send it over to someone else to do all the research and analysing the artefacts they find. I realise now it’s less about digging and more about the actual work they do behind the scenes, the number of different departments and people with different skills involved and not just the people on site. That’s been one of the eye opening things for me really.
So far so good, like I said before, it’s just on week into the dig, and I’m finding it interesting and I’ve still got my enthusiasm and the knowledge that I’ve gained. Quite possibly, in the future, I’m actually thinking about looking into going into this. I’m finding in social circles and the people that I meet I’m talking more and more about the history of my local area which I didn’t know before and which I’ve gained through this PCA training and digging I’m doing right now. The experience that I’m getting from this, like I’ve said, it’s opened up my eyes into the archaeological world and the local history and the amazing things that you can tell from just picking up a piece of pottery or what you find in the ground.