CAMPAIGN TRAIL: DAY 6 - 26/8/99
THE NEWS IN BRIEF
A busy two days. Both trenches are up and running with lots of archaeology surfacing. Despite wet weather on Wednesday, morale is high - not least because of the many kind emails we've received about our work. Thanks a lot!
"The two teams have been working extremely hard, and all our efforts are now being rewarded. The area of Mark Lewis' trench was in many ways going to be the most challenging, and his crew have made considerable progress in tracing the enclosure wall, though later disturbances - probably a combination of ploughing and land drainage - have dislodged or removed many stones. Some clay deposits in the trench are very interesting, but I would like their relationship with the scatter of large stones to be explored before trying to interpret them. It seems fairly certain that the larger stones are derived from the enclosure wall (what survives of it) in this field.
The Mark Lodwick's trench produced another suprise, when Steve Thompson uncovered the knee of another young adult, lying close to the young adult found a few days ago. Although only partially exposed, we already know that the head lies to the north, and once again, the manner of burial appears very casual. The extent of the rubble spread in the upper ditch fill is apparent, now that the team have trowelled the top clean. We should know early next week whether it covers more burials outside the wall . "
DR MARK REDKNAP
MARK LODWICK - DIG ORGANISER
"Great progress over the last two days although slower than earlier in the week. The heavy rain on Wednesday slowed us up, as did the detailed recording of what we have unearthed so far. The rubble spread just outside the enclosure wall had to be meticulously drawn (at a scale of 1:20) before we were able to excavate it
On Wednesday we received a visit from 'Meet the Ancestors' production team, who have been following our project with interest and filmed the latest progress. They are planning to return next week, so lots of work uncovering our burials before then!
Steve Burrow finished drawing the rubble early on Thursday so the team was eagerly waiting to get on with its excavation and discover what lies beneath. Are there even more burials ? In the afternoon we caught the first glimpses of burial number 5 when a knee cap emerged from the rubble - very exciting, but how many more burials can we excavate in the remaining two weeks? "
EVAN CHAPMAN - FINDS SUPERVISOR
"Still relatively little to do in terms of finds. The amount awaiting washing is beginning to creep up but it will probably not be worth starting any of the volunteers on it until next week. To see how I have spent most of my time, see Mark Lewis's Trench.
I have, however, taken the time to set up the flotation tank - an old oil drum with one end cut off, a spout sticking out near the top and a hose attached near the bottom. Its use is to extract charcoal, burnt grain and the like from soil samples. The principle is that the tank is filled with water and a sample is placed in a fine mesh suspended near the top of the tank. The water is then pumped up through the sample from underneath and out of the spout, hopefully carrying any light material cantained in the sample with it. This material can then be caught in a very fine mesh sieve held under the spout. "
MARK LEWIS - WALL TRENCH SUPERVISOR
"After just two full days in my trench, and working under the protection of our poly-tunnel, we at last have enough rubble in one arm of the L shaped trench to suggest the presence of a wall although we do not yet have its faces surviving at this level.
In the other arm of the trench we have uncovered a very compact and dense clay banked layer which coincides with, or runs parallel to, a parch-mark which showed up on aerial photographs. An extension to the initial area of excavation was needed to provide more information to enable the interpretation of the feature. Within this extension a very clear edge to the clay was uncovered. It may be that the clay alone would have been sufficient to cause the parch-mark observed in the aerial photographs of the site and interpreted as a wall in an otherwise wet, peaty low-lying area. If our wall does continue in this area it is probably within or beneath the clay "bank".
Whilst the wall eludes us for now, the search will continue! "