Despite mixed weather, the dig has gone well, and we now have 4 very exciting trenches and a range of fascinating finds. In Tr. 1, we have sunk a sondage into the infill of the lake, revealing the original tarmac surface, dipping into what would have been the lake edge. On top of it is a large white stone: perhaps one of the original ornamental features lining the lake edge. The lake itself has been filled in with a variety of fills, one very clay rich, the others with a high proportion of floor and wall tile fragments, window glass and slate (possibly from the demolition of the Pavilion itself). We are also finding fragments of metal and glass slag, suggesting this material has been brought in from elsewhere in Manchester, to act as fill.
(Visitors on the daily site tour explore the finds of the day)
Meanwhile in Tr. 2 and 3, the going is slow: compact layers and root damage make this archaeology hard-work! We think we are on the outer edges of the Bandstand itself: corroded ironwork at the sides of both trenches may be all that is left of the decorative railings which fenced off this area.
In Tr. 4, the Mound is being revealed as compact clay base – as we suspected (and the archival records support) – made up from the material dug out to form the lake. However, we also have some artefact rich layers over this, suggesting some of this material has been derived from elsewhere.
One of the interesting finds from many trenches are the number of childrens’ toys: a plastic aeroplane represents a recent loss but we have a variety of marbles, including a few clay versions and a couple of the clear stoppers from old glass soda bottles – recycled as an extra marble! We also have three different colours of glazed ceramic gaming pieces known colloquially as ‘knucklebones’ (originally played with pig bones) or ‘fivestones’. These lost objects from a day of play in the Park will help us explore the nature of Edwardian childhood from a material culture perspective, including the commercialisation of play and the mass production of ‘toys’.
(Edwardian childhood: glass marbles and glazed clay ‘fivestones’ or ‘knucklebones’ game pieces)