All gone a bit Frank Spencer

We seem to be generating an unfortunate tradition of everything going a bit pear-shaped at the end of the first week of fieldwork. Hopefully this won’t get as bad as the end of the first week last year. First of all the cows broke the fence again on Wednesday night. Fortunately they zapped themselves in doing so and then ran away, rather than spending all night eating our spoil heap and crapping in the trench. Be warned cows.  We have bought new fence wire on the internet from some Zimbabwean blokes in Norfolk and it is warranted all the way up to elephants.

Thursday morning started out very very hot and still again and, while everyone else fixed the fence, John and I drove scaffold planks up the hill in the tractor. These are to go around the edges of the trenches to protect the grass from getting damaged. Once we were up there Vanessa reminded me that I had forgotten to bring the finds records up from the barn, so back down the hill I went to fetch those. By the time I got back up the hill again then everyone else had finished a first clean of the surface we exposed in trench H at the end of Wednesday.

‘Where’s the camera Rick?’

‘Ah.. …now you are asking, it appears I have left it in the back of my car in Preston, along with most of the other site records.’

So, while everyone else cleaned another layer off the trench I drove the bus back to Preston to retrieve the things I shouldn’t have forgotten in the first place. Still, I got to listen to Jimmy Anderson bowling while I drove. As I got back to site Australia were nine wickets down, so England were obviously safe for a big first innings lead.


Mike took control of the camera to get pictures of the second big clean up of the day just being completed. Despite all this hard work it is still difficult to see precisely where the features are in the subsoil. There are lots of changes of colour but nothing as obvious as last year’s segment of ditch. This is a least partly because the soil is so dry this summer. Soil colour differences are an important part of how archaeologists see where pits and ditches were, but these colour changes show up much better in damp soil.


This is our solution. No, we aren’t trying to build a swimming pool on the top of the hill. The hope is that the tarpaulins will cause the moisture in the ground to rise up over the course of Friday, leaving us with a nice damp surface to look at on Saturday morning.

We left site slightly early on Thursday as I had to go back out to Dunsop Bridge, after dropping everyone off in Preston, to give a talk as part of the Festival Bowland event. Australia were still batting as we got back in the van and with a nice big first innings lead. And I managed to be slightly late for the start of the talk. It was clearly one of those days.

Today we haven’t been on site at all. It is graduation week at UCLan and Archaeology graduation was this afternoon. Congratulations to Jonny, Jodie, Fran, Jess, Dave, Simon, Amber and Amy on their BScs, to Clare on her MSc and Sam on her PhD.

Urban wildlife of the day, peregrine falcons (I think) hunting very noisily from the spire of St Walburge’s church around the corner from the University.





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