Environmental sampling

Guess who’s got a shiny new flotation tank?

Take a look at our new kit.  Our Environmental Archaeologist, Hannah Bowden, is just in the process of building the tank and reorganising our outbuildings, so that she can commence with some environmental sample processing

Exciting times ahead!
Interior of the tank
Shiny new flotation tank

Mystery of Oystermouth Castle Medieval Ditch

Image of two environmental sampling tins embedded in the sand deposit in the section of Trench 1

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?