Week 2 of our geophysical survey of a selection of Gower Iron Age promontory forts finds the team at Paviland. The site is possibly more famous for the discovery of the ‘Red Lady’ during the re-excavation of the site by Reverend William Buckley in the 1800’s, than for the Iron Age promontory fort that crowns its peaks.
The fort, also known as Yellow Top, has a central area roughly 40m by 44m, within which traces of settlement have possibly been identified using aerial photography. On the landward side of the site are two lines of banks and ditches, around 32m apart, with the inner bank having a causewayed entrance.
Environmental sampling of the sand deposit in Trench 1
The report on the environmental samples taken from the soil filling the possible medieval ditch around Oystermouth Castle been returned to the office.
The results are both puzzling and disappointing and show the soil to be relevantly clean, containing miniscule amount of charcoal and a very small amount of unidentifiably biological material (and lots of pebbles). The soil from medieval ditches tends to be very dirty. So does this mean there was no ditch? Where we just unlucky and happened to sample a very clean area of the ditch? Was the ditch regularly cleaned-out when open and filled back in with remarkably clean soil? (Most unlikely!) Or was it opened and backed-filled quickly with the same material, meaning
the soil was fairly clean? (In which case the ditch wouldn’t have served a defensive purpose but could have been for foundations or quarrying.)
I’m beginning to wonder if the ditch (assuming it existed) ran around the bottom of The Tump, which was used as an outer bailey. What do people think?