The Ovens

The medieval bakery - viewed from the north-westThe medieval bakery - viewed from the north-westKEY
1 Entrance
2 Chalk wall
3 Hearth
4 Oven
5 Occupation layer
6 Enclosure ditch

 

 

The bakery would have been right on the edge of the enclosure and away from any other buildings to help reduce the risk of fire.
 
The occupation layer (5) shown on the picture is the build-up of archaeological material left behind by the people who used the bakery. It consisted of charcoal, broken pottery, animal bone and one iron nail. 
 
Medieval bakers at workMedieval bakers at workThe oven in the south-west corner (4) was used principally for baking bread, but also possibly for smoking or drying.  It probably had a domed roof with a smoke vent above the mouth.  A fire would be made inside the oven and when the heat had been absorbed by the structure, the ashes would be swept out and the bread put in to bake. Medieval bread would have been very similar to the wholemeal bread we eat today. It may have been shaped into rolls, round flat loaves or large rectangular loaves.
 
The hearth in the south-east corner (3) is smaller than the oven and had a different function. It looks as if it was an enclosed hearth, without a roof.  It may have been used in the production of ale.
 
Both the oven and hearth were built from local clay and flint. Fragments of clay from around and within the oven (4) tell us that the oven’s domed roof had probably been re-built at least three times.