Main picture A length of hollowed alder-trunk found in a large water-pit at the Girton Grange quarry site, where Trent & Peak archaeologists found themselves investigating what turned out to be a Bronze Age waterworks. See plan on page 35. Scale-divisions are 10cm. Above Detail view of the inside of the hollowed alder-trunk, showing tool marks and partial charring. Scale-divisions are 1cm.
A Bronze Age waterworks
It was a routine ‘strip and search’ exercise in an expanding gravel quarry, and Trent & Peak archaeologists were not expecting much. Unexpectedly, they ended up with a Bronze Age waterworks complete with unique bark-lined wells.
Intensive quarrying for sand and gravel is fast eating into the rich archaeological remains of the Trent Valley. Tarmac’s Girton Quarry, about 55km south of the Trent’s confluence with the Humber, is set to extend across some 3km of the valley floor. Usually there are good crop-marks in the Trent Valley to indicate where there are archaeological sites. Not in this case. Nor has geophysics proved helpful at this spot. The visibility problem is caused by a belt of glacial sand along the margin of a gravel terrace beside the broad alluvial flood-plain. However, intermittent excavations through the 1990s had revealed evidence for human activity. So, when the time came in 2005 to strip another hectare of sand to get at the gravel beneath, Trent & Peak archaeologists Graeme Guilbert and Daryl Garton were on hand to ‘strip and search’. The job was to watch the freshly exposed surface as the quarry company’s machines scraped away the sand, looking for the lines and blobs of discolouration that might represent the ditches and pits of an archaeological site. It was all very speculative. There might be nothing.
The top of the dune had indeed become largely sterile through erosion. In ancient times this belt of sand lay at the edge of a marsh. The