Connie introduced the site, an area of land currently in use as horse paddocks just south of the A27, opposite Sompting Church and Sompting Abbotts. The project started when WAS were asked in 2017 to investigate the remains of a small flint building in one of the paddocks that was only meant to be a couple of days work…..
The coast had been extremely close to the site but from the 13th century longshore drift led to the silting up of the local coastline and by the 18th century the land was being farmed. Connie added that a bonus to the work at Malthouse field had been the opportunity for WAS to fieldwalk an area further south of the site as part of the EPIC project which had recently dug a new channel for the local watercourse, exposing potentially prehistoric soil layers and worked flint. Members from WAS had found plenty including a broken Barbed and tanged arrowhead, microliths and a knapping site.
Summarising what had been found to date, Connie discussed the structure under the tree which had substantial walls and floor tiles. It could have held water but no drain was located. A pathway leading to it had oyster shell and clay pipe in it. A flint wall running east- west abuts the rectangular building and could be part of an earlier structure. A north-south flint wall contained a chalk block structure that revealed a well. On John Mill’s advice the 2019 excavations targeted the well cut which could date its construction. A clay with flints layer was discovered adjacent to the well cut, potentially deposited at the end of the last ice age and containing worked flint. When it became too deep to excavate the well cut further, an auger sample took the excavation to a total depth of 3.6 meters and revealed medieval pottery and struck flint.
The 2019 excavations had only just finished so results are still being analysed, but trench targets had been established through Geophysical surveys in the spring. One survey had identified features in other paddocks. One was natural geology but the other (Trench 10) contained a modern water pipe (probably associated with the 1936 show), a degraded chalk surface which is found across the site which had features dug into it, a potentially military-cut trench, Romano-British pottery and a medieval pit containing Saxo-Norman pot sherds.
More modern finds include glass, a powder compact, a key for a Hornby ‘0’ gauge toy train and a tube of Gleam toothpaste.
The flint finds indicate temporary hunting and farming but not permanent settlement.
Connie finished by revealing that a recent Tristram family document had come to light from 1758 showing another building on the site which could line up with one of the as yet unexcavated geophysical anomalies, possibly evidence of an earlier building. That’s for next year….to be continued ………