The minibus insurance has been sorted out and Mike and Pete are taking charge on site while I sit at home taking anti-inflamatories and getting updates by mobile phone. Yesterday there was a lot more progress. On site C they have discovered traces of an old land surface under the bank on the outside of the enclosure. According to Mike this doesn’t survive particularly well (it won’t show in either section for example) but it does contain some prehistoric worked stone. This is the best proof we could have that there really did used to be a bank on the outside of the ditch, however eroded it has now become. This, as I discussed a few posts ago, would suggest a Late Neolithic date for the enclosure.
On site D they have been cleaning another layer off the whole trench. There appears to be some sort of feature in the middle of the trench and there have been a lot of finds of slag type material, which are presumably connected with metalworking on site – if this is really what these are that would obviously suggest a later prehistoric date for this part of the site. Once we get this stuff back to Preston we have access to a range of analytical machinery and techniques that should be able to give us more detail about the chemical composition of this ‘slag’ and therefore some idea of what process it was connected with.
We have also started work on the first of our rock-shelters for this season. This will be site E and it is the same site that the photogrammetry was used on before the dig started. Just off the trackway up to Higher Fencewood Farm and Tunstall Ings there is a shallow, north-east facing, rock-shelter at around 200 m OD. We are digging a 1 m square test excavation against the rock wall here to see what evidence we can find of human activity in the past. So far the test pit has removed around 200 mm of accumulated topsoil and has just come down onto the top of a limestone scree deposit. The finds from site E so far all appear to be animal bone.
I’m sorry that I haven’t got any images of all this yet, but once I do I’ll update the post to add in the pictures.