Day four was another scorcher and it turned out to be a very exciting day. This morning we had six new volunteers and a couple of familiar faces on site to help uncover Pan’s past.
We continued digging into the site, starting some new excavation areas, and continuing others begun previously. Today we saw some fantastic finds! First our volunteers found fragments of a “Keiller’s” marmalade jar. Then a 1oz Bovril jar emerged from the mud. It’s tiny compared to the 8oz jar found earlier in the week! Next we had our star find of the dig so far – an American Milk of Magnesia bottle… which still had the remains of the Milk of Magnesia inside it! Don’t panic, we’ve washed it out now as it was long past its sell by date – which amazingly was printed on the side of the bottle. If you’d like to find out how old the bottle was please come to our exhibition tomorrow, 1pm – 3pm at the Isobel centre, next to Downside school.
Finally, just before we concluded the morning session, two old- hands from yesterday’s dig found an intact preserve jar with lid still attached. Amazing!
After a short break, and wondering how we could possibly top the morning’s session, we began our afternoon dig on a second site 5m to the west of our previous area. Unfortunately we quickly realised that this area was full of modern debris, and not part of the Victorian dump. Whilst this sounds disappointing, it helped us to understand the boundaries of the Victorian bottle dump that we have been investigating. We’d like to thank our young volunteers and the adults from the Medina Centre for helping us to establish this.
Back on the old site we were joined by local history enthusiast Dean, who was able to tell us more about several of the bottles that we had found. We found out that the Mew Langton bottle stoppers found on site were from the local brewery, and Dean found amongst our treasure the bottle neck into which they fit. He also identified our oldest bottles and gave us some intact bottles from his collection to display at the Isobel Centre.
To end the days digging we turned up some interesting finds, including an ornamental ceramic pig. We believe this may have come from a pig farm that we know once existed in Pan.
Hope to see you all at the exhibition tomorrow afternoon and if you’re lucky we may reveal the age of the Milk of Magnesia bottle in tomorrow’s blog post!