The Pub Dig! at the Elm Tree Inn, Elmton was a huge success, with four test pits opened over the weekend. All four pits revealed good archaeology and helped shed more light onto the history of the village. Archaeologist and TV presenter Julian Richards came along to offer support for the dig, which will be featured in the next edition of the Derbyshire Times. Creswell Heritage Trust were also on hand providing activities for families including sand pit excavation trays for children and painting sessions using natural materials such as ochre paint, feathers and pine cones.
Pit 1 harboured an interesting collection of artefacts spanning some four thousand years, with Bronze Age flint tools, Iron Age pottery, Medieval pottery and plenty of animal bones attesting to the longstanding occupation of Elmton.
Pit 2 contained stone wall foundations and sherds of Medieval pottery, which has helped us greatly in our research on the Medieval village at Elmton.
Pit 3 revealed large pieces of limestone scattered throughout layer 3, possibly relating to the stone wall feature in Pit 2 (just a few metres away) and could well be evidence of demolition. Further Medieval pot sherds and a flint tool were recovered from the pit.
Pit 4 again revealed limestone blocks, this time forming a small ‘cist’ type structure (similar to a modern coffin) that contained numerous animal bones. Upon removal of the stone, dozens more animal bones were discovered including leg bones, teeth, vertebrae, several jaw bones and two near-complete burials, one of which was possibly a fox or dog. Further analysis of the bones will hopefully reveal more clues. A single sherd of green glazed Medieval pottery (c. 12-13th century) was the only other artefact recovered from the ‘bone layer’, which in the end equated to over a hundred bones from just one 10cm deep layer!
The group will be carrying out further test pits at Elmton next month.