CAMPAIGN TRAIL: DAY 4 - 24/8/99
THE NEWS IN BRIEF
Both trenches are now up and running. Mark Lodwick's is producing burials in addition to the defensive wall and ditch he already has to deal with. Mark Lewis' is just beginning but hopes are high that it contains the defensive wall around the site.
"The past two days have produced several surprises - all welcome. We have had excellent digging weather, contrary to the forecast, and just before lunch Mark Lodwick and his team uncovered the leg bones of another burial in his trench. An interesting feature of this new burial is that the head lies to the north, whereas the burials found previously have lain with heads to the south.
The new burial, possibly that of a young adult, lies at a similar depth to the others, and was also laid to rest in the upper fills of our enclosure ditch.
The cleaning of the 1998 cross-section across the ditch at this point has also revealed the crushed skull of another infant, again orientated north-south, with head to south. These finds are very important and our speculation on the backgrounds of the burials continues."
DR MARK REDKNAP
MARK LODWICK - DIG ORGANISER
"A brilliant couple of days and a great team, we've all put in a lot of hard work, but its worth it when we take a step back to see the results.
Yesterday the whole team spent the day emptying out the soil that got filled in to the part of the trench that was excavated last year. By the end of the day we'd emptied out the ditch beside the enclosure wall and come down on top of a human burial which we located last year but left unexcavated.
As well as all this, we uncovered a new part of the wall not seen for a thousand years and located a possible fragment of a human skull in a section we've cut across the ditch. The leg bones of yet another skeleton have also been found although much of this latest example probably lies outside our trench - so we've had to open a bigger area to catch the rest.
Today a smaller team have been busy exposing a rubble spread that butts against the outside of the enclosure wall and which may have more burials beneath it.
All very exciting - and we've still only been digging for four days!"
MARK LEWIS - WALL TRENCH SUPERVISOR
"Until yesterday I've been helping to get Mark Lodwick's trench cleaned up, but now I've started work on my own. The bulk of the ploughsoil was removed with a mechanical digger and we quickly spotted several large stones in a line - another section of our enclosure wall? The area of the trench is very boggy and Roger - the farmer - tells us that he's made many attempts to drain the area. We've also found a lot of broken drainage pipe in the exposed area.
Most of today has been spent tidying up the trench - straightening the sides and removing the lumps left behind by the digger. This has taken most of the day as the trench is about 400m square! Fortunately we'll only be excavating an L-shaped area within this.
By the end of the day we had cleaned a part of this L-shape, finding a grey clay layer beneath the ploughsoil. Next we'll be looking at the area around the stones to see if they really are the remains of the enclosure wall. "
EVAN CHAPMAN - FINDS SUPERVISOR
"I've now got the finds hut completely ready to process the finds from the dig. The first few days of work, however, never produces many finds as the time is spent cleaning the remainder of the ploughsoil to get to the archaeology. I've therefore spent most of my time on site. A few days of manual work makes a nice change, and an extra pair of hands is always welcome in the trenches.
The finds I have had to process so far have mostly come from the metal detectoring of the ploughsoil: a scrap of copper, bits of lead, and two iron knife blades - to go with the large number of similar blades found in previous years. Their find spots have been marked for later plotting onto our site plan.
All metal finds are recorded and packaged up for return to the museum - cleaning metals requires trained conservators and the facilities of a conservation lab, neither of which we have on site. "