Pithouse c-14 one

Pit house C-14 prior to excavation, Tønnesmine, 2017

FHM 5216, Feature A843, Pit House C14 Edit


General appearance, shape, and size:    == Well outlined and slightly elliptical-shaped pit house just longer in the east-west direction. The pit measured approximately 3.5m in the north-south direction and approximately 3.8m in the east-west direction. The pithouse had a varying depth throughout. There is a defined layer of burnt clay on the east side of the construction. Two circular features near the pit house were recovered, hypothesized to be potential postholes, one to the west and one to the north.

Excavation methods and finds:

Upon preparing the site, FHM 5216, feature A843 was uncovered as a dark brown spot in the loose, yellow subsoil and classified as pithouse C14.

An auger measurement in the center of the structure showed a depth of 20cm, which is relatively shallow for a pit house. In the top 2cm of the pit house using trowels, one large bone, hypothesized to belong to a cow, pig, or sheep/goat on the southern side of the construction was found. Additionally, the pit house contained several small fish bones and fragments of mammal bones, thought in context to be food remains. On the northern side of the pit house in this layer, several large fragments of ceramic were found towards the western side of the unit. Sieving produced a large flint tool with characteristics common to the Viking age.

C14 2

Students from the Harvard Summer School during excavation

Towards the bottom of this layer, there is a feature change in the eastern part of the pit house, as a large layer of red, burnt clay appeared in both the northern and southern sides joined by a smaller layer of charcoal. It is hypothesized that this could be indicative that the pithouse at one time burned with the clay wall collapsing inwards.

The next 3- 4cm of excavating, produced several pieces of ceramic, flint, and organic material in this layer, including a large jawbone with one tooth attached to it in the northern side of the unit. Another measurement showed that the pit house continued down approximately 15cm on the north side and 5cm on the south side. Several centimeters deeper, a nearly perfectly circular slate dish in the northern side of the pit house was found, hypothesized to have arrived to Samsø from Norway, potentially through trading. More organic remnants were found, including a bone believed to be a mammal toe bone and several more organic remnants. Two more large ceramic sherds in the southeast side of the pit house were found, as well two other ceramic sherds in the northeast portion of the unit.

The floor layer of the pit house produced a large number of ceramic sherds in the southeast side, which is believed to belong to the same piece of ceramic. Finally, upon further examination, the posthole to the north of the unit, which was considered a potential posthole at the beginning of the excavation, appeared to be part of a fence construction.

Report Written by Tareq Habash, Casey Moore, Jessica Zhao, David Schachman