The cows are grazing our bit of the hill again so we are back inside our electric fence. I rigged this yesterday, stretching the wires around everyone as they got on with proper work and maintained a dignified silence in the face of my shocking Colditz commandant impersonations.
In trench P we are getting some very exciting features. After all the mattocking on Monday we have come down onto the top of a much narrower boundary than we expected. It seems to be only just over 1 metre wide but it clearly shows that there were once large timber posts in this relatively narrow ditch. You can see the traces left by the decayed wood of one of them just behind the yellow bucket in the foreground in this picture. There was probably another one behind it just under Phil’s kneeling matt.
A narrow ditch like this with many large posts standing in it would, of course, be a good structure for a deer park boundary. However, we haven’t found any medieval or later finds in this feature yet and we are finding a lot of worked flint. If this is part of a prehistoric enclosure then it could just be a Late Neolithic timber palisade enclosure. This would be very exciting indeed, but we are trying not to get over-excited about this possibility until we have some results from the enormous gradiometer survey that Mike is coordinating.
We are also finding a lot of worked chert and flint in the prehistoric features in trench M . There are two largish bowl-shaped pits here. One on the north edge of the trench which Chelsea is digging and another bigger one in the centre of the trench where Christine and Connie are working.
In trench N we have finished recording the later archaeology which was cut from the top of the hillwash layer. Therefore, it is time to get the heavy tools out again to remove this layer. Mike and Josh of the UCLan Formation Mattocking Team lead the way as we look for the top of the glacial clay, which is where we expect the prehistoric features to show up.
Feeding frenzy. A big thank you to Christine for bringing the lovely cake, the last piece of which is just vanishing into George’s mouth.
As I was driving everyone home tonight I was just thinking that we hadn’t seen anything to count as wildlife of the day when the first stoat I have seen this year ran across the road in front of the van. Showing great restraint I will not reprise the stoat joke from two years ago, once is enough.