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The contents of a late 18th-century pit at Crosswall, City of London

A G Vince & G Egan


A brick-lined pit excavated at 8-10 Crosswall in 1979-80 (Museum of London sitecode: XWL79) contained a large collection of pottery and glassware – including many complete profiles and near-complete items – together with faunal remains and other finds. Analysis suggest that the material was deposited on a single occasion, c 1770 – the largest group of this date known from the City, and the first to be published in detail.

The animal bone assemblage is relatively small but contains the complete skeleton of an Angora rabbit, probably the first example from an archaeological context in the UK, and one bone from a linnet, which was perhaps kept as a song-bird. The unusually high proportion of bones from domestic fowl, together with the high proportion of bones from immature cattle, sheep and pigs, hints that the material derived from a household that was reasonably ‘well-off’: a poorer family would have eaten the cheaper meat from older animals. This impression of comparative wealth is reinforced by the presence of a stool-pan for use with a wooden commode and of at least two sets of high-quality Chinese porcelain – including one piece some 70 years old. Amongst the glassware is the top of a bird-feeder for use in a bird-cage. It is suggested that the objects were disposed of as a result of a household clearance.

[Transactions 32 (1981), pp 159 – 82; published abstract, but augmented]

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