What no caves?

We started this morning working inside the clouds. Tantalizingly, just to west of the Bowland Fells, we could see a bright gap showing where the sun was blazing down on the revellers on Blackpool Pleasure Beach. However, up in the New Laund microclimate, we had 90% humidity and a very wet site.

You are probably wondering where all the cave-related archaeology has gone. Don’t worry, we haven’t had our heads turned by finding a previously undiscovered prehistoric monument and we are still interested in how the natural places around New Laund were used alongside the enclosure. It’s just that, with one thing and another, we have got a bit behind with the two enclosure trenches and I don’t dare start any new test excavations until I am sure that we can finish everything we have already begun. We need to allow at least two days of next week to backfill and returf and before that can happen we need to complete a lot of digging and recording.

On site C almost all the primary limestone rubble has been removed from the ditch and we are starting to clean the whole trench up. The ditch seems to have been about 2.5 metres wide and just over a metre deep when it was originally dug.

Over in the centre of the enclosure, on site D, Irene van Z and Ella have removed all the fills from the portion of the timber circle ditch they were digging. There don’t seem to have been any posts in this bit of the circle. This part of the site is being cleaned up for a record photo in this picture and you can clearly see the even shape of the ditch and also the prehistoric toolmarks preserved in the side of the ditch. On site C you can now clearly see similar toolmarks around the edge of the main enclosure ditch. It is likely that these are from the tines of red deer antler, which we know from other sites were used by prehistoric people as picks.

The section of the circle just to the north of this does seems to have had a large post in it. Pete has discovered a ring of stones, the remains of the packing that would have supported the post, in this fill. You can see more toolmarks in the sides of this ditch in the photo. We also have clear evidence of large posts having stood in the two features outside this curved ditch that Danny and Vanessa are digging: so it may be that the timber circle had more than one phase of construction and use.

The cloud lifted at about 1.00 this afternoon and I took the opportunity to climb up to the summit of New Laund Hill and take some pictures of the whole plateau. Site D is on the left of the picture with the surviving bit of the enclosure ditch visible behind the mass of grab-bags and site C on the right hand side. I think the enclosure ditch would originally have come around somewhere beneath where the three sheep are grazing, enclosing the whole of the plateau to the south of the limestone ridge.

Lots of wildlife on Little Bowland Road on the way home today. We saw a sparrowhawk and a leveret (sounds like the name of a Brewers Fayre pub – the Hawk and Leveret) within about two minutes of each other. Simon the calf continues to thrive, although Daniel insists he should be called Bob the bull.

Rick

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