The Gasworks tip at Caernarfon has been dug, on and off, since the early 1970's. It is mostly quite modern, the upper levels dating to the 1940's and early 1950's in places, but there are much older levels at great depth. We estimate that in places it must be near to 40 feet deep, and hard digging with it.
When digging has been carried out here, it has mostly been concentrated on the edges of the tip, where a lot of older rubbish was thrown when building work was carried out in 1969/1970, as part of the Sewerage treatment plant. Underneath this older rubbish are levels dating from mid 30's back to mid 20's.
It was a solo dig today as Stephen couldn't make it, so it was the usual fallback of a desperation dig at the Gasworks. It was also a welcome return for my old mate Tony, who has missed a few digs of late. It was Tony who introduced me to the delights of dump digging in 1975, an introduction which I am still grateful to him today. He doesn't dig these days, unless it is an exceptionally easy dig, but he loves to get out on site and pass the time of day chatting and generally talking bottles. Like me, the Gasworks was the tip he cut his digging teeth on, and he knows it pretty well, or as well as anybody can. Over the years there has been a lot of disturbance on the tip, which means that some good stuff can pop out unexpectedly in the unlikeliest of spots. However, the usual results are pretty sparse and mostly modern tat. Today I had decided to try a spot next to the path by the river which produced some good bits in the 70's, and Tony had found a few Codds nearby, mainly lying in the top few inches of the clay lining.
The single most hateful thing about the Gasworks in the horrible heavy clay capping which covers the tip. In some places it can be anything up to about seven foot deep, and is a killer to shift. In anticipation the pickaxe was brought along to aid its removal, but in a glorious start to the day the first few shovelfuls revealed its complete absence. Oh the Joy!
As always, the first few minutes of a dig can be exciting, as the anticipation of what might be unearthed still burn bright, and today the early finds did nothing to diminish that feeling. First out was the top of a Codd, followed soon after by a quarter of a pot lid (Maw's Ambrosial Shaving Cream with Almonds), and a Singleton's Eye Ointment pot. For a tip like this, it was a good sign, but all the distrubance over the years can have this effect, and soon it was back to the usual Gasworks fare: sauce after sauce, jampot after jampot, with the odd better find to break the monotony.
The site is a notorious suntrap, and with the good weather it soon became unbearably hot, so it was a nice leisurely dig today, with no records broken regarding the amount of ash shifted. Called it a day about 2:30, and although the finds were nothing exceptional, it had been a nice day out in the sun. It will probably be another solo session next weekend too, so it will more than likely be back here, but will need to get my backside in gear to shift much more ash.