CAMPAIGN TRAIL: DAY 13 - 2/9/99
"Our schedule has been punctuated by work with the team from the 'Meet the Ancestors' TV series, now strengthened by the arrival of Julian Richards (the presenter) and reconstruction artist Jane Brayne. Julian kindly agreed to continue the excavation of a complicated 'double' burial (numbers 3 and 4 - see illustration in the last update), while Steve continued to work on another burial (number 5). The posture of this individual is also unusual, lying with head twisted to one side, and both arms slightly twisted in front, wrists lying close together. After a day (yesterday) of working with Steve on all three of these burials, today I have been able to concentrate on the crouched infant burial (number 2). This infant has extremely brittle bones, and removing the sticky clay backfill which encases them requires patience and careful use of wooden spatula and water spray.
The day has gone extremely well - with the archaeology in both trenches coming into focus. The enclosure ditches in both trenches have now been defined, both occurring in their anticipated positions. Roger the farmer was able to give some invaluable support in hoisting the production team into the air above the site for a bird's-eye view of the site, and at the very end of the day by mechanically excavating a section for us through some of the peat and tough clay deposits in the field with Mark Lewis' trench. "
DR MARK REDKNAP
MARK LODWICK - DIG ORGANISER
" Over the previous two days work has progressed well with the excavation of the burials and we gained some valuable help and expertise on Thursday with Julian Richards and the rest of the Meet The Ancestors crew.
The skeletons are now appearing clearly in plan and the detailed careful recording of the complex relationships between the surrounding soils and underlying layers begins. On Thursday afternoon Mary Davis, an archaeological conservator from the National Museum in Cardiff, joined us to offer specialist knowledge and support in the safe lifting, packaging and transportation of the fragile remains. In the afternoon the team had discussed the options of lifting the skulls in their surrounding soils to excavate back at Cardiff, or whether to carefully excavate on site with more detailed recording of the bones in place to accurately determine all stratigraphic relationships.
Elsewhere in the trench a great deal of hard work was rewarded as the sides of the enclosure ditch appeared in plan and we decided to excavate to the bottom of the ditch in two sections one metre wide, one along the baulk and one edge of the trench. "
MARK LEWIS - WALL TRENCH SUPERVISOR
"It has been a very successful day in our trench! Tudur and Alice followed back a deposit of naturally occurring sand to reveal the cut of the ditch that we have been searching for. Once recorded, they started to remove the upper layer of ditch-fill. On returning from afternoon tea-break we found that the ditch had started to fill with water (it has been hot and sunny for two days). We have hit the water-table less than one metre from the surface and just 20cm below the cut for what is likely to be a wide and deep ditch!
Our charred, black layer is still expanding, its limits still to be determined. Attention will soon return to the plough-damaged wall and its associated outer and inner contemporary land surfaces. We will especially searching for a ditch beyond the wall in this area. "
EVAN CHAPMAN - FINDS SUPERVISOR
" Still only a gentle flow of finds and even the weather is making my life easy this year. Warm dry conditions with little or no strong direct sun - perfect drying conditions! However lifting of the skeletons is about to start so my finds assistant job may well be about to come full time again.
The metal detecting of ploughsoil is producing a continuing flow of the very small knife blades that have come to be so characteristic of the site over the years of excavation. It has also turned up a decorated early medieval copper alloy strap-end, to keep Mark Redknap happy, and the battered remains of a one-piece bow brooch, not much to look at, but helps to keep me happy as it is late Iron Age or very Early Roman (1st century AD). "