fire trench


Senior Member
In 'Saxon: Book of Dreams' by Tim Severin, there is such a fragment:

Tables and benches filled the spaces between the double rows of posts holding up the timber roof. The walls were lined by sleeping booths. There were damp areas on the earth floor where the thatch had failed. A fire trench held cold cinders and ash.

Could you explain me what a fire trench in the room may be and what it looks like? Just a pit in the floor, without chimney? I found the word in Google and in Merriam-Webster but it did not fit in the context.
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