CAMPAIGN TRAIL: DAY 18 - 7/9/99
THE NEWS IN BRIEF
The project encounters its first serious rain. Mark Lodwick consolidates work in his trench whilst Mark Lewis watches his trench disappear under water.
" The last two days work has been hampered by rain. Once the deluge had stopped, and the trenches were pumped out or sponged dry, we were, however, able to continue work. The additional moisture, although an initial problem, can also have benefits: it restores the natural colours to sun-bleached features, and makes it possible to trowel previously baked, unyielding surfaces.
Over the last two days, some of us have been cleaning up the sides of a late field boundary and ditch which bisects our enclosure. Tudur's excellent cleaning of the south side of the ditch that separates the two fields we are excavating in has helped reveal another important piece in the jig-saw - we have now located the position of the enclosure wall in the south-eastern corner of the site. This clue provides us with a complete circuit for the defended enclosure! "
DR MARK REDKNAP
MARK LODWICK - DIG ORGANISER
" Since Sunday most of the work in the trench has concentrated on recording the extensive archaeology we have exposed over the last two weeks. Dave Stevens (site surveyor) has had to work hard planning all the archaeological features in the trench. The rest of us have all been discussing the sequence of deposits that accumulated in the enclosure ditch and the complex series of cuts and recuts seen in the sections in the side and unexcavated 'baulk' across the trench.
Tuesday began with a clean up from the heavy rains that fell overnight and we all had to avoid the sensitive areas we have exposed. The rain provided a welcome opportunity to investigate a linear feature (probably the bottom of a ploughed out ditch) which we had first noticed during clearing in the first week. By the end of the day, we had traced the whole extent of the feature, which appears to be cut by the enclosure ditch and is therefore earlier than the enclosure ditch, probably pre-AD 700. The archaeology keeps getting earlier. "
MARK LEWIS - WALL TRENCH SUPERVISOR
" And the rains fell, and the waters rose... and we turned up for work this morning to find that our trench was full of water after numerous storms during the night. With water to a depth of over a metre in many areas it was necessary to hire a pump to clear the trench (figure 2: action shot of pump). It took most of the afternoon to clear most of the water away. It is easy to appreciate how the boggy peat layers have formed in this area: this area was probably boggy in early medieval times.
Towards the end of the day Archie reported a signal from his metal detector near the sump that had to be dug in the ditch fill to drain this deep part of the trench. I watched as Catherine, Archie and Roger investigated the mud and silt near the sump to find a beautifully preserved copper alloy artefact in the form of a bird. This came from a context securely within the ditch fill just below where we had stopped digging the day before the flood. If it had not been for the metal detector the object could have been missed when the silt and trampled, muddy, surface of the context were cleaned up. "
EVAN CHAPMAN - FINDS SUPERVISOR
" Two down (well actually up) and two to go! Burial 3 is now out of the ground and safely boxed up ready for return to the Museum, while Burial 5 is lifted but awaits final packaging because of a shortage of kitchen foil (a situation rectified this evening). Foil is a relatively inert packaging material which provides good support for the bones, which are generally rather fragile.
Finds processing is still keeping pace with the digging but as we enter the second half of the final week I am inevitably begining to fret over whether the washed bone will dry in time to be bagged up by Friday afternoon. "