Cresswell Pele - Excavations
Following on from the geophysical survey and the fieldwalking a two-week programme of excavations started in early 2017. Supervised by Archaeological Research Services the excavations involved volunteers from the local community.
A number of evaluation trenches were started in the area immediately next to the tower and in the adjacent Fisheries Field. Although there were no outstanding anomalies in the geophysics data one trench, opened up near to the spring, or well, which gives the village its name, hit upon a remarkable find. The trench landed upon two Early Bronze Age burial cists. Although no direct dating evidence was found the two stone-lined burials are typical of the era and could easily be 4,000 years old. The image below shows volunteer excavators cleaning the cists.
Smaller cists, like the ones at Cresswell, often contain cremation burials. However, the presence of pillow stones, somewhere to rest the head of the deceased person, suggests these were inhumation burials, possibly those of two children. Next to the cists, the excavators found a stone-filled post hole which could have held a marker post or totem. It is not unreasonable to suggest that the burials are part of a more extensive cemetery.
Use your mouse to spin and navigate the photogrammetry model of the cist below.
Another trench in the Fisheries Field, this time next to the tower, revealed traces of a wall which could have formed a defensive enclosure (known as a barmkin) around the tower. Sadly this trench had to be closed down due to flooding caused by the poor weather conditions during the dig.
Trenches around the base of the pele tower revealed the remains of the 18th Century manor house (foreground above). However, an unexpected foundation and floor were discovered which appears to go under the pele tower and therefore part of a building which would pre-date it.
The image above shows another interesting discovery. Again next to the tower, this large pit, filled with stones including a singular lump of red ochre was recorded.