Northern over-exposure

Did I mention that it has been a bit hot recently? Given how wet we got last year, we have been loathe to moan too much about the heat drying everything out, but we really could use just a bit of rain. On Thursday morning I had to go into Clitheroe to buy more grab bags and I stopped on the way back to buy a supply of ice lollies to try to keep everyone from expiring. I got an insulated carrier to put them in, bought a 2kg bag of ice to keep them company and hoped I could keep them reasonably frozen all they way back. It takes about half an hour to do the drive over from Clitheroe so, once I got back on site, I finished up dashing from trench to trench with the big bag of lollies like a fell-running hokey-pokey man. Everyone got a frozen lolly though.

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I missed an open goal with the blog post title about the cobbled surface in trench H. Ever since Wednesday people have been coming up with pun-tastic suggestions. Road to Nowhere, the Old Straight Track and The Lost Highway being my favourites. In this photo it is just getting a final tidy up before we took the official record shots.

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Here it is in all its glory. This photo is looking south-east, into the timber circle from the outside. Once this was taken the next job was to draw a plan of all these little stones at 1:20 scale. This was quite a challenging job but the finished drawings are a beautiful bit of work.

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The outer bank and ditch of the enclosure is proving harder to find. We though we had it on Wednesday but when we removed all the fill from what we presumed was the ditch it turned out to be a large natural fissure in the limestone bedrock. We are going to extend trench J further down the side of the hill and continue looking.

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Down in the valley, on trench K, where the wind never stirs and the sun beats down all day, Jasmine has had everyone mattocking off layers of sub-soil. They are still finding lots of waste flakes of chert but they also found a very nice flint tool on Thursday afternoon. It looks to me like a little leather-working point. There is such a density of finds from this area that we are now fairly convinced that this site is part of a settlement. The reason for all the mattocking was to try to get down to the layer where any features associated with this settlement would show up. We are hopeful that after a clean up on Monday morning we will be at that level.

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There has been some serious digging on trench L too. This shot shows it after the dark humic topsoil had been removed. The fill of the doline is quite loose in places and, in the south-east corner, the topsoil went down nearly a metre. We are just starting to get some finds of animal bone at the base of this layer and there are also a few tiny flakes of metal. These are the characteristic green colour that all copper alloys go when they corrode. This could be something very exciting and prehistoric or it could be the percussion cap from a shotgun cartridge that has fallen down a hole.

I know through the useful WordPress widgets that this blog has an international audience (there are up to tens of  you visiting every week), many of whom are probably thinking ‘how hot can it really be in Britain?’ Official shade temperature today was a maximum of 28 degrees Celsius but the thermometer in the farm-yard said 35 degrees at the end of work today. I know there are lots of places where 35 degrees is just a nice fresh spring day but it is plenty hot enough for us. To quote Harry Pearson, we are northerners and we burn easily.

Rick

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