Journal of Archaeology in the Low Countries 1-2 (November 2009)Liesbeth Troubleyn; Frank Kinnaer; Anton Ervynck; Luk Beeckmans; Danielle Caluwé; Brigitte Cooremans; Frans De Buyser; Koen Deforce; Konjev Desender; An Lentacker; Jan Moens; Gaston Van Bulck; Maarten Van Dijck; Wim Van Neer; Werner Wouters: Consumption patterns and living conditions inside Het Steen, the late medieval prison of Malines (Mechelen, Belgium)
5 The small finds

5.1 Sampling and recovery

Although the dimensions of the two cesspits are not equal (see supra), the stratigraphy of both fills is roughly similar. At the bottom of structure 2 (fig. 8), a cess layer (2D) was found consisting of a superposition of many smaller layers, the result of the constant use but, at the same time, frequent cleaning of the pit. This layer is covered by another cess layer (2C), which in turn is covered by a layer especially rich in finds (2B). The destruction of the pit is reflected by a layer (2A), consisting of building debris (brick, tile fragments, mortar), charcoal and ceramics. In cesspit 4 (fig. 9), the lowest part of the fill (4C) again consisted of a series of cess layers (comparable to 2D), followed by a layer (4B) that was partially disturbed by the intrusion of building debris (4B1). The uppermost layer (4A2) has the same characteristics as unit 2A in the other cesspit, although part of it (4A) must have been further disturbed while the foundations of the tower were robbed. The fill of cesspit 2 was excavated completely, that of cesspit 4 was only partially excavated (approximately 50%), concentrating on the parts of the layers with concentrations of find material. Finds have been hand-collected from the volumes excavated and the remaining sediment has been sieved (see infra, table 4).

Outside the cesspits, but still within the tower, a cess layer (layer 1) was found, which contained sherds that matched finds from the cesspit fills. Clearly, this layer represents a part of those fills that has been removed during a destruction phase. Only a selection of material from this ‘layer 1’ has been included in the analyses.


Fig 8 Section through cesspit 2 (stratigraphy: see text).


Fig 9 Section through cesspit 4 (stratigraphy: see text).