Machines that go ping

After a week of serious getting down to it in the evening this year’s interim report is completed. Well the Paralympics is over and, now there is no need to spend every night applauding Iwan Thomas’s dedicated fight against the ‘casual friday’ look for sports presenters, what else was I going to do with my time? I’ve uploaded it as a pdf on the interim reports page. There is still a lot of research to be done on the results of this summer’s work but at least we have now got an interpreted framework of what happened on site and in which order to work around.

There is a certain amount of environmental science that I would like to get moving over the next few months, in particular we will be looking at the preserved pollen from both the caves we dug last year and from all the features in the enclosure. I also need to make a start on a detailed analysis of all the worked stone. There are lots of tools, but just as importantly there are lots of waste flakes from making those tools which need to be measured and compared with the finds from last year and from Reginald Musson’s excavations in Fairy Holes cave in the 1940s.

We have also got a new toy here at UCLan: a robotic total station with an in-built differential GPS. Yes dear, very nice, you are thinking. This is a survey instrument which allows us to take and record measurements to the same accuracy as the total station we used over the summer (about +/-5 mm if we are doing it right and anyone cares) but automatically and in vast numbers. I want to use this to make a very detailed contour model of the whole hill. There are two reasons for doing this. One is because I can and think it will look cool in the final report. But the other is that this level of very detailed survey may show up little changes in the topography of the site that show where buried features, such as the missing bits of the ditch, may be.

I want to extend it over the whole hill because when I was on top of the hill taking this picture of the dig in progress there were a lot of very intriguing humps and bumps which may be other monuments. One in particular, right on the summit, looks as if it may be a barrow or a cairn.


  1. cool – we need a mod for a quad bike – even a four wheel drive tractor won’t get everywhere we need to go

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