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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin Cross

Excavations @ Cwm Dwfn House: Part 2

My last blog on the impromptu excavations in my backyard was focused on the pottery that's been turning up. But I mentioned that a few non-pottery items had revealed themselves as well, mainly glass and metal. Some of these are pretty cool, so I figured I'd share them.

After the pot, the next most common things I'm finding are shards of glass, mainly from bottles and storage jars. I'm only keeping a small number of these as there are tonnes of them and most are quite recent. So here's just a selection of the more interesting ones.

Top left is a bottle stopper, and it's probably the nicest piece that's turned up. The others on the top row are: the base of a small vessel, the base of a shot glass (with another base shard below), and part of a bottle top. Bottom right is part of a jar rim, while the others are body shards. Of note, the translucent shard in the middle of the bottom row is very fine, with a red-painted edge, and may have been from a display piece. All of these probably date to the 19th / early-20th Century.

As well as the vessel shards, there are also a couple of possible costume items, including what I think is a broken button (this looks black but it's actually purple) and a blue necklace bead, which I think may be faience; the full necklace must have been a beautiful thing.

A couple of the metalwork items also relate to costume, being a (brass?) buckle and an iron hobnail. The buckle is quite large, and may have formed part of a horse harness, rather than a belt; if the latter then whoever wore it must have been (to use the technical terminology) a big bugger. The hobnail would have fastened the sole of a shoe.

In terms of the other metalwork, the items are mainly domestic in nature, as you'd expect. Two of them once belonged to fireside companion sets, including a little brass coal shovel and a pair of quite elaborate Iron and copper alloy tongs.

The below is probably a brass pommel, so the decorative part of a handle. I can't be sure, but one possibility is that it was once part of another fire iron implement, e.g. a poker. Guess why they threw it away??

I've no idea what the below is, but it looks like decorative edging for something. Got a bit more research to do on this one.

Other than domestic items, a number of different items related to... wait for it.... drum roll... farming have turned up more generally across the farm. To these, I can now add the below, which (I think) may be a bull nose-ring.

And finally for now, I'm finding the sorts of things that I've just got no idea about. No doubt there is an obvious, and probably uninspiring, explanation for the below. As it stands though, to me they remain chalk-sized cylinders with a dot-dash pattern along their sides. I'm not even sure what they're made of; might be stone, some kind of resin, some kind of hard-fired ceramic, or none of the above. I've no idea. Answers on a postcard...

So I've dug a huge amount of soil over the last few days and found a lot of other things that I haven't talked about in this or the previous blog. I'm going to wait until I've wrapped up the dig now to give you guys and gals a third and final update.

Take care until then.

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