CAMPAIGN TRAIL: UPDATE 7 - 25/8/2000
THE NEWS IN BRIEF
The sun continues to shine as Evan's trench is extended in search of more archaeology, and Mark continues to puzzle over the features in his trench.
"Each day brings our perspective of the site into sharper focus. In Evan's trench, the dark earth within our possible building beside the spring has produced a copper alloy dress fastener of tenth-century form. This form originated in Ireland, and was readily adopted by Scandinavian settlers, occurring in abundance in Viking Dublin. The natural edge of the spring has been defined in a few areas, providing an opportunity to establish its early medieval and earlier form.
In Mark's trench, the enclosure ditch has been emptied, revealing a sequence of fills very similar to that recorded in last year's ditch section. We've taken radiocarbon samples to check its date."
DR MARK REDKNAP
EVAN CHAPMAN - SUPERVISING THE SPRING TRENCH
"For the past two days our work has been dominated by the extension of the trench to the north to discover more about the possible building found a few days ago.
We have also cut a box out of the western edge of the trench to pick up more of a patch of fired clay and stones. This may be a hearth, but it is not obviously associated with any building - perhaps it was used for metalworking?
Meanwhile Dave (our site surveyor) has been busy planning the cobbling in the spring depression so we will soon be able to lift them to investigate what lies beneath."
MARK LODWICK - SUPERVISING THE ENCLOSURE TRENCH
"Half way through the dig and most of the archaeology is now exposed in my trench. The team has been busy digging many of the features, but so far few have told us much about their original purpose, although some we know to be prehistoric in date. We are beginning to think there is a preserved prehistoric land surface surviving in dips in the natural subsoil which the plough has not been able to reach.
Yesterday John and Nigel hit the bottom of the enclosure ditch, which came down onto bedrock making it easy to spot, thankfully."
HEATHER JACKSON - FINDS SUPERVISOR
"Finds processing is continuing and I am managing to get through most of the bulk finds, although it has taken some time to set up the flotation system and I'm a bit behind with drawing and recording the metalwork.
The flotation system consists of an oil drum with a spout into which a sieve mesh is placed. We pour the sediment sample into the sieve mesh and water is pumped up from below. When the sample is fully submerged the organic matter (such as charcoal and plant material) floats to the surface and pours out through the spout, where it is caught in a fine sieve. This dark organic mush will be taken back to the museum to be looked at in more detail. We also check the residue remaining in the sieve mesh for any small pieces of metal or pottery we've missed while trowelling.
After a few near disasters (nearly flooding the finds shed!) everything seems to be up and running okay."