This week marks the beginning of archaeology for our 1821 brick bank barn restoration project. Test pits are being dug in and around the structure to determine the original footprint and usage of the building. Look at the barn in the photo at left. See the two doors stacked on top of each other? Now look at the shadow of the staircase that used to lead up to the top door. That’s on the surface! Imagine what might be buried.
The wooden structure “tacked on” to the brick barn at the left in this photo was a milking parlour. The pit at that end is meant to investigate whether the foundation between the wood and brick structures is continuous, and what the other stone “wall” under ground mean.
At the other end of the barn, there is another “tacked on” structure of stone. Was it an ice house? Or a manure silo (think giant composter), or something else entirely? Another part of the team is digging inside to see if the original use can be determined, and to find out if the stone structure has a continuous foundation with the brick structure. There are slots on the inside of the stone walls where floor joists would have gone, and a ridge at the top that looks like it might have held a ceiling.
All in all, an exciting day at Oatlands. I’ll keep taking pictures and keep you posted on the progress and the finds.