The long handle

Today we didn’t start very promptly. First of all I had to go to the mailroom and apologise to Janet for bending the bus last night. Then we had a new delivery of grab-bags from Berry’s to collect from my office and all of this meant it was well after 9.30 before we got up to site. Tony and Carole from Northern Boggarts Caving Club came out to see the site today and to have a look at the two caves we excavated last year. Once I had shown them round they bravely volunteered to spend the rest of the day providing some very welcome help with the digging.

Mike and Pete have divided trench D into four equal areas so they can work on them one at a time. Trowelling layers off the deposits here so far has not helped us sort out if there are any structural remains inside the enclosure to go with the anomalies on the geophysical plot. Today they decided to adopt a more direct approach and began removing deeper spits using mattocks and shovels. After the first of these vigorous cleans we trowelled the surface again and still no features. However by the end of the day, with another big layer removed, suddenly the cleaning up began to show the fills of a series of large cut features right across this section of the trench. More importantly they are also right where the geophysical survey said they would be. The fact that there is so much soil development above the point from which they are cut, and the presence of yet more worked stone, including an Early Bronze Age thumbnail scraper, makes me think that these big features are quite early. They certainly look more like the kind of thing you would expect to find inside a Neolithic enclosure than an Iron Age roundhouse, which makes me happy. (Not that there is anything actually wrong with the Iron Age you understand, but it has to be said I understand the Neolithic a bit better).

On trench C we have continued to remove the last of the late ditch fills and begun the process of cleaning up the surface of the primary fills. We have some more finds from this area now, a nice piece of worked flint that Jas found on the outer bank and two bits of chert I found on the inside of the ditch.

We seem to have spent most of the day inside a cloud. Just that kind of persistent drizzle which never feels like too much rain but gets everyone and everything soaked through. Still we filled up more than 10 grab bags today – ten tonnes of effort.

Wildlife of the day – very stubborn hedgehog in the middle of the road on the way up from the farm to collect everyone else.

Rick

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