Muddy Puddles

Today started with a bit of agricultural excitement. Pete and Irene van Z found a premature calf in the field on their way up the hill. They kept an eye on it until morning teabreak by which time it was obvious, even to our town-bred eyes, that all was not well. Irene went down to the farm and Daniel came up with a quad bike and trailer to retrieve it. ‘Will it be okay?’ we asked. ‘Oh yes’ he said convincingly, knowing what we wanted to hear.

On site, last night’s rain had filled up large parts of both trenches so we had a lot of bailing out to do. All the intruging features in trench D had been covered over with a layer of yellow slime. Yet more cleaning up with a trowel was needed until at just before lunchtime we had the two western quadrants of the site clear and the curved feature nicely visible again.

You can see the fill of the feature (now context D03) as the darker brown soil running in an arc from behind Danny’s head to just behind where Mike is cleaning up.

We were also cleaning up and bailing out in trench C. By mid-afternoon they had managed to get this to the point where Jas could take some record shots of the surface of the primary ditch fills. A plan is now being drawn of the surface of this context and once all the record sheets are complete for the layers above we will start to excavate it. Any finds within or beneath this primary rubble should date to very shortly after the digging of the ditch.

By this time we were well on with digging the feature containing context D03. There is quite a lot of complexity to this. It looks at first glance as if it is a number of large features which intercut one another so we have divided it into areas separated by unexcavated blocks of deposit (which we call baulks). This strategy allows us to have lots of vertical sections through the deposits in the feature or features and gives us the best chance of working out the order in which things were originailly dug. There are also some big stones within the fill. I think this is becuase this feature originally contained large upright posts and these stones are packing material arond the bases of the posts but I must admit to speculating wildly in advance of our evidence at this point.

To the south of this feature we have also identified two smallish circular features. Vanessa is digging out half of the fill (context D05) of one of them here. Again, she is leaving half the deposit behind at this stage to allow us to see and record the relationships in section. There is another large stone in this one and it too looks as if it might be a posthole.

Danny is following the same method with another possible posthole (fill number D04).

While we were all having fun digging features on the top of the hill Tony and Carole were bravely tackling the wet sieving from site E which was lurking in the barn. Thanks very much to them for their efforts. So far there is very little evidence of any prehistoric activity in the 1 metre square test pit we dug there.

Rick

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