The light at the end of the tunnel…

Is the light of the on-coming field season. Only two weeks to go now before we start digging again. On Friday we held our final exam board of the academic year. This marks the unofficial end of the academic year, leaving me free to concentrate more or less full-time on excavation planning. Duncan, of course, is already fully involved in digging. Oakington Anglo-Saxon excavations have been running for a week now. It looks as if they’ve had a good start (I know everything always looks positive on Facebook but I’ve also had a sneak preview via Skype, they look to have a lot of pottery – don’t ask about the hula skirts).

Aside from all the ‘have we got enough clipboards?’/’where are all the line levels?’ type questions you have to ask before you go digging I have been attempting to build on the landscape characterisation I did a few weeks ago. I still haven’t thought up names for any of the areas but I have been thinking about how much data we need from each zone before we can say that we know enough.

zone1 screenshotIn the centre of this GIS plot is the zone around the area we will be digging this summer. As you can see it also includes Fairy Holes cave and Temple Cave (which we dug in 2011). By the time we have finished this summer we should have good pollen sequences from three or four locations across the landscape, a range of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age evidence from our excavations at Fairy Holes, trench K and, hopefully, the new digs. We have the geophysics Mike, Scott and James did last summer but it would be good to have another chunk of the zone surveyed with the gradiometer. We should be able to get everything we want from this area done by the end of August.


This is the zone on the north-east flank of New Laund, the one with the henge and timber circle in. As you can see there is no lack of geophysics here. About 65% of the land surface in this zone has been surveyed and, because we’ve been digging lots of bits of the henge, we have lots of archaeological and environmental data too. This shows nicely why we feel that we have enough data to leave this one alone now.

The point of the landscape characterisation was to make sure we give the same level of attention to each bit of the study area. One of next week’s jobs, apart from chasing the pesky line levels, will be to use this mapping to plan our geophysical survey priorities in the other nearby landscape zones.




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