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Courtyard re-cobbling

and our very own archaeological excavation

Once Alan had finished leveling out the ground in the courtyard it meant that we could then get on with trying to find out how much of the courtyard and to what extent it was cobbled. The first problem was working out at what depth the cobbles would be at below the surface and if in fact there were any there at all other then the small patches we had seen. 


 Freshly leveled and awaiting the start of the excavation  

Other than the track that Alan had laid the plainings on the rest of the surface was just compacted building rubble and so
we had to just tacke this by hand with a mattock, pick axe and shovel.



Clearing back the surface and starting to reveal the cobbles below 

We started to find a layer of cobbles about four inches below the surface and as we worked to follow the cobbles and expose more we started to unearth objects which must have been dropped onto the cobbles when the courtyard had still been in use.

Amongst our archaeological finds were two old iron axe heads, a large old spanner and nut, a cow bell, an old knife blade, a small horse-shoe and an old Victorian railwaymans brass tunic button. 

As we exposed more of the cobbles we found that they appeared to slope downwards as they ran away from the front of the house. At first we were a bit concerned that the level the cobbles were going down to would be much too low to be able to use with the driveway level that Alan had laid with the plainings.
As we continued excavating we started to understand the layout a bit more and all of a sudden Alison worked out that the cobbles fell away from the house to a cobble gully to carry the water away to a drain. This discovery was great news, with the surface of the courtyard being made up of mud and rubble whenever it rained the water just sat in big puddles and the whole are soon just became one sticky muddy mess, if there was a ready made drainage channel (even if only half complete) then we would have a chance to use it to move the water to a drain.


The cobble gully in the courtyard 

Quite a bit of the cobbled courtyard and gully still existed but there were large areas without cobbles and several
big patches of missing cobbles cutting across the gully.

Whilst we could only guess at how most of the missing patches had come about we did know for sure that the straight cut right through the cobbles running up to the front of the house was from when we put our utilities trench in and so we set about repairing the cut where it crossed the gully.


Repairing the cut in the gully made by the utilities trench