As you can see, not everything you discover on an archaeological dig can be put into a finds bag.
Pete was cleaning up the surface outside of the eastern cave this morning and working down to the original bedrock platform when he found this very lively toad. After some photography we released him into the wild.
This, slightly more archaeological, image shows the small round mouth of the eastern cave very well. We have removed the topsoil from the area in front of the cave, without finding any evidence that this one was used in the Bronze Age. Pete, Sam and Josh are now working inside the cave (not all at once, they wouldn’t fit in) to take off layers of the sediments inside and search for prehistoric activity here. So far all the finds here have been relatively modern looking animal bones.
A few very cramped metres to the west is the main cave. Here we have removed most of the backfilled remains of Reginald Musson’s excavations in the 1940s. There are a few patches of what look to be undisturbed cave sediments lurking in the corners which we will remove and examine once we have recorded the cave floor in this area. This photo shows the area outside the main cave and how tight for space everything is. Jim and Tom are setting up the total station to record some finds while everyone else sieves, this all works fine as long as none of the other six people who are still in the cave want to come out.
Further west still Cate and James are still excavating the very small fissure cave we have called the west cave. There is only room for one person at a time in this one, you can just see James’s boots sticking out of he rock as he digs. So far there have been a very few fragments of very eroded bone from this one.
Both the east and west caves are much too small to have ever been used for shelter in the Bronze Age (or at any other time in prehistory). However, lots of other very small fissures and holes are used for a wide range of purposes in the Neolithic and Bronze Age so it is still highly likely that we will find prehistoric objects here similar to the ones Musson found in the main cave.
No toads were harmed during the writing of this post.