Author: Winston Hollins, Stoke-on-Trent Museum Archaeological Society


This training dig was conducted in an area around a point where the ground had collapsed under the weight of a lorry, exposing a void which had been covered by a sandstone slab. The site is on the edge of the outbuildings to a Victorian house. However the house was built on the site of an earlier farm house. A dig diary follows.


21st May 2011

A resistivity survey on an area 30 metres by 20 to the north of the north wall of the walled garden was undertaken.


Setting up the instrument Demonstrating doing the survey
How to use the meter How to log the data How to do the survey


An area of 6 square metres (3.5, 2.0) to (5.5, 5.0) was deturfed, and the area beneath trowelled.


After deturfing Trowelling-1 The hole clarified
Deturfed & cleaned-up Further trowelling... clarifies the hole


 This soon started to show clearly defined areas, which were described as being a floor of crushed brick cut by a channel running north to south. In the extreme south there was the wall of a building running east to west.

Majolica-1  The few pottery finds were consistent with a dating of the second half of the 19th century.
Majolica-2  (Here are two views of a shard of a Majolica pot)
28th May 2011
Working on the channel only, the fill was taken down.

Trowelling 2 



In this fill a (silver?) thimble was found. Again the pottery finds were from the late 19th century.






29th May 2011 Pipes

The soil fill of the channel was about 25 centimetres deep. Below this was a continuous row of sandstones capping a brick-lined trench, which held two cast iron pipes. Immediately above the stone capping there was a thin conduit for electricity supply to the building, the wall of which had appeared in our excavation.




We could now compare our results, from the resistivity and the excavation, with the existing maps. The maps show that there was a building next to the north wall of the walled garden. This shows clearly on the resistivity survey. The map shows a greenhouse to the north of our excavation. It is clear that the building was a boiler house supplying heat through the cast iron pipes to the greenhouse. It was disappointing that the trench holding the pipes didn’t show up clearly on the resistivity survey. The resistivity survey did show the wall lines of various other buildings on the site.

Map  A map of the area from 1967 with the area of interest ringed in red
Resistivity  The resistivity results (not to the same scale!)


Stoke-on-Trent Museum Archaeological Society, August 2011

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