The Black Goat Pit

The other week I was supposed to be doing some TV work so I kept that week of the field school free of students. However as usual with TV companies they changed their dates and I am actually going to Kent tomorrow to do it. So I had a week off as it were and instead of having a break from the dig I decided to clean the vegetation off the Mesolithic platform. In the summer it is like painting a suspension bridge just when you get to the end of it it needs doing again. By the end of the week I cleared the area around the unexcavated pit 42 which we found in 2005. I was never quite sure if it was a pit as it did not have a clear cut around it only on one side and I had half suspected it was just an uneven bit of the platform. So as it was a sunny day  I decided to see if it was a pit or not.

 It is a long time since we had any videos on the website so I decided to video it as I dug it so you could see what if anything I found. I never suspected it would turn out to be a Black Goat pit that had plastic orange baler twine in it! For a start we did not have to go through the expense of having a radio carbon date for the pit as plastic baler twine was not invented until the 1960ís and not used much in Cornwall until the 1970ís!

We have put the excavation of it on U Tube with a link to it on the site so you can see what happened as I excavated it. The pit is in a grouping next to the Pig pit (which we donít have a date for) and the Black Cat pit which is dated to about 1740 A D. The alignment is the same north south as the other two animal pits. The purple crystalline sand that covered the body in the pit was also the same as the sand in the cat pit and the swan pits dating to 1640 A D.

So this sand must have been brought in to be part of this unknown ritual for the Black Goat pit in the same way as it was for the Swan pits some 350 years before.

The patchwork placing of the brown goat fur was also unusual. The bottom jaw of the goat that was deposited is just same the bottom jaw of the pig that was placed in the Dog pit which also dates to post 1950ís.

Watch this space as we have uncovered more pits this season which we have not excavated yet. The number of pits found to date are 55.

Jacqui