Test Pit 31 - 81 North End

This test pit was dug close to the place where an old shepherd’s cottage dating to c.1600 once stood. ¬†Legend has it that the shepherd buried some treasure … but would this be found in the test pit?

The Finds

The pottery finds from this pit included Late Medieval Ware, some Glazed Red Earthenware, Staffordshire Slipware and English Stoneware dating to the post-medieval period and a very large assemblage of 276 Victorian-era sherds.

The other finds included glass, tile, metal objects including a button, a fen boot riser and a piece of a horse shoe, fragments of clay pipe, slate, coal, slag, brick and tile, and some fragments of oyster and mussel shell. The faunal assemblage included bones of cow, sheep/goat, pig, rabbit, chicken and some other unidentifiable remains.

The finds from the pit agree well with the known history of the site, suggesting activity from around the 15th-16th centuries onwards. This expanded dramatically in the 19th century when the very large quantities of pottery suggest the area around the test pit was used for dumping household waste. The finds also show no evidence of activity prior to the 15th century, suggesting this area of the village remained as open fields and uncultivated land before this time; a pattern also observed in nearby Test Pit 32. The church and manors of Topcliffe and Vesey therefore appear to have marked the northern edge of settlement in Meldreth for a substantial period of time.

For an overview of the site and finds, please click on the image of the exhibition poster which is the first image in the gallery below.

For detailed analysis of the finds, please see the results sheet for this pit, which is available as a download at the bottom of this page.

For reports and maps relating to all of the test pits, please see the documents available on our results page.

Site Diary

Day One

It was a family and relations dig, thoroughly enjoyed by all as it brought us together on a mission to discover. That’s always exciting in spite of not finding the elusive shepherd’s hoard of sovereigns!

Day Two

As we had struck clay yesterday our neighbours’ acquaintances kindly helped to fill in the pit and complete the questionnaire. Again a fine day so the task was speedily completed to all’s satisfaction and the finds taken for further expert scrutiny. Thanks for the opportunity to dig into the past!

Photo Gallery

Please click on a photograph to display a larger image.


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