Language skills for archaeologists

The German word for doline.. …is doline. After all the hard work put in on trench L over the last two days the upper orange clay deposit in the top of the doline is nearly all gone and the trench is over 1.4 metres deep. This means it needs some kind of support if it is going to remain safe to dig in. We are going to have to go much deeper with this trench as dolines fill in relatively quickly, even at this depth we are probably still above the prehistoric layers of the fill.

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Jonas, who works for John but comes from Southern Germany, drove me and all the acrow props up the hill this morning, so that we could start to put together the shoring. This was a great help as there are four props, they are 2 m long and made of solid steel. Plus, I also learnt the useful linguistic fact at the top of the post. The plan with this trench now is to start digging  in 1 m square units through the fill below this orange clay. This seems to be a much looser, rubble type deposit. As the base of the trench goes down then we will keep moving the shoring down with it (and add in the extra props at the top as we go).

The few slight showers we had last night and yesterday morning have helped us get a lot further with trench H. There are more complex things going on here that I will write about tomorrow when we have had another day to think about them on site.

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This photo shows the ditch containing the timber circle posts. It is particularly deep here just before it stops to make the entrance, meaning that the posts probably got bigger nearer to the entrance. All other things being equal, then a taller post needs a deeper posthole. In this picture you can also clearly see the disturbed packing stones which helped support the post or posts in this section. 

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In trench J we are still looking for the line of the outer bank and ditch as it went around the hill. We have now extended this trench twice and it is 23 m long. This is the latest candidate for the top of the ditch fill, right at the end of that 23 m extension. It looks promising, but, it could also be another natural fissure in the limestone. By tomorrow we should have it clean enough to know one way or the other.

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Wildlife of the day yesterday. We see so many hares on New Laund Hill that we have got a bit blase about them. Safari tourists apparently get like this about zebra and gnu and then start obsessing about obscure beasts like honey badgers. Coming down to the beck last night on the way home I managed to get this picture of the very rare baby rabbit. There were three of them wuffling about by the path, presumably planning a raid on the carrot beds, but they scarpered before I could point them out to anyone else.

Rick

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