CAMPAIGN TRAIL: UPDATE 5 - 21/8/2000
THE NEWS IN BRIEF
As the excavation progresses Mark Redknap speculates on early medieval buildings and Bronze Age round houses, whilst his team focus on digging the features in their areas.
"Almost at the end of our first week, and we now have a good view of the archaeological deposits in both trenches. The discovery of the corner of a possible early medieval building on the edge of Evan's spring area is significant (see his contribution), and I think that we will need to extend this trench in the next few days, in order to confirm this interpretation. The limited area visible at the moment suggests close parallels to a 9th/10th-century building found on the site a few years ago. This had a sunken floor, and limestone flagging along the outside of one wall.
Mark's enclosure trench has its own teasers - 'are two curvilinear slots the first evidence for round-houses?'; 'If they are, could they be of Bronze Age date, or are they more recent? Perhaps next week we will have some answers! "
DR MARK REDKNAP
EVAN CHAPMAN - SUPERVISING THE SPRING TRENCH
"Dry weather over the last two days has allowed the area around the spring depression to dry a little, and today we started removing the remains of surface layers in that area. Beneath we found a curving line of limestone blocks which might relate to a similar line on the opposite side of the spring area. Perhaps they once enclosed the spring within a circular pond.
Another alignments of stones near the northern edge of the trench now seems likely to be one corner of a building. The trench is therefore all set to be extended in this area as soon as Roger has time to bring his mechanical digger back to the site. "
MARK LODWICK - SUPERVISING THE ENCLOSURE TRENCH
"The recent good weather has helped us reveal more of the archaeology cut into the natural subsoil in my area. Because the ground is still wet all the features show themselves clearly and most of the team has been working to define the edges of these more closely using string. By the end of Thursday the trench began to look like a strange piece of landscape art.
We have begun to excavate all the features outside the enclosure wall, but they are refusing to yield their secrets easily, with no datable finds coming from any of them so far. We have however collected a quantity of charcoal from each feature, giving us an option to obtain radiocarbon dates later.
By Thursday lunchtime we were in a position to start excavating a section of the enclosure ditch and made good progress encouraged by the excitement of what we might find this year. Inside the enclosure wall, excavation of a shallow rubble filled ditch has produced prehistoric flint flakes, and some animal bones. Elsewhere we've found fragments of pottery which might date as far back as the Stone Age.
In just a week's work we've therefore found artefacts from prehistory, the Roman period and Early Medieval date, all within a single trench! "
HEATHER JACKSON - FINDS SUPERVISOR
"I'm still working in Evan's trench until we get a few more finds for me to work on, exposing the full extent of the cobbled platform within the spring.
My geological background also proved useful today when the farmer, Roger, asked me to identify the stone used for a Stone Age axe he had found on his land. A welcome change from naming the fossils that the students spot in the limestone bedrock on site! "