As the perky voices used to say in the Grace Bros. department store lifts. As we guessed at the end of yesterday, after all the lovely cleaning up in trench H, there was still a lot more of the hillwash to be removed before any prehistoric archaeology could become visible. Today has mostly been about the application of mattock to soil.
Fortunately, it was a bit more overcast and breezy today. This was taken in the early afternoon. Everyone else is painting themselves into a corner removing the last of the layer while I swan about on top of the grab bags taking photos. There were still lots and lots of finds in this layer, particularly worked chert and flint.
And of course, once that job was done, the whole surface needed trowelling clean again. This time there are traces of archaeological features beginning to show through but everything is still a bit obscured. We don’t think we will need to do any more mattocking just yet but it will all need to be cleaned again in the morning. You have to be comfortable with repetitive tasks to be an archaeologist.
The cleaning of surfaces is also going on the trench J. We are starting to get some more worked stone in this area too, particularly up at the top where Josh and Nikki are standing debating how to record the latest piece.
Overall we are making excellent progress with these two trenches, thanks to everyone’s hard work. In the equivalent areas last year we only got to this stage at about the end of the second week.
Returning to the subject of Are You Being Served? – my Gran and Aunty Dot both worked in Binns in Sunderland. Although it is usually remembered as outright farce, they loved the programme as a pretty straightforward account of what it was like to work in a British department store in the middle of the twentieth century.