CAMPAIGN TRAIL: UPDATE 9 - 30/8/2000
THE NEWS IN BRIEF
Evan finds a path heading towards the spring and Mark Lodwick puzzles over the date of the crouched burial.
"The last few days have seen a breakthrough in our understanding of Evan's spring trench. Despite some evidence for dredging and dumping in recent times, we have discovered a dark grey deposit beneath modern stone and sand which may represent a layer within an early medieval pool. Animal bone, some shell and a coin of Edmund (939-46) have been found in this layer. As I write this, we are pumping water from the excavated area - still effective as a pool after so long! Further paving to the north once formed a carefully constructed path down to the spring - and represents an important thoroughfare within the 9th/10th-century enclosure. We are now reassessing our interpretation of similar stone as a building in the north of the trench, which may turn out to be a continuation of this path."
DR MARK REDKNAP
EVAN CHAPMAN - SUPERVISING THE SPRING TRENCH
"Friday was hard going as the site was so dry. The heavy rain in the evening was, therefore, welcome from an archaeological point of view - if not so popular with those camping.
We're now in our last week and need to consider realistically what can be achieved in the time left. Work will need to concentrate in the northern part of the trench where extensive areas of cobbling and flagging have now been revealed. Work is also continuing in the bottom of the spring where a number of layers appear to survive."
MARK LODWICK - SUPERVISING THE ENCLOSURE TRENCH
"Into the last week and the team has been busy excavating the tangle of features inside the enclosure wall so we can try to establish the sequence in which they were dug.
Excavation of the grave pit has continued slowly since the bones are in a fragile state, they've also been damaged by rodent activity in the grave. My hopes of finding a Beaker pot seem to have been dashed, but there is still a chance of finding some grave goods to verify an Early Bronze Age date for the burial. If there are no dateable artefacts associated with the burial we still have an option of obtaining a radiocarbon date from one of the relatively well preserved upper leg bones.
At the end of the day on Sunday we found the bottom of our second section through the enclosure ditch, which interestingly has a different profile to the other section just a couple of metres away."
HEATHER JACKSON - FINDS SUPERVISOR
"Finds' processing is continuing apace. I am managing to keep up with all the recording of metalwork etc. and hopefully am teaching the students how to identify the various materials we are finding on the site. The most common finds here are animal bone and iron objects but we have also had pottery, glass, worked flints, lead, silver and copper alloy objects. I find it very satisfying when after a day in the finds shed, students have clearly improved their identification skills.
My main task for this week is the floatation. The soil, particularly from the grave fill in Mark's trench is very clayey, which makes floatation and wet sieving pretty slow going. Some of the prehistoric features have, however, produced large quantities of burnt hazelnut shells which makes it all worthwhile."