Sonic screwdriver needed

The Bartington gradiometer is playing up. This is the device we use to look for variations in the earth’s magnetic field caused by buried archaeology. Using it is a bit of an arcane skill and, as I have posted before, what goes on inside the machine is a complete mystery. Mike and James have spent a lot of today trying to get the two tubes balanced so they can continue with the survey that they started last week.

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‘Getting the tubes balanced’ sounds exactly like the sort of pseudoscience Dr Who scriptwriters slip in to convince you that there isn’t a gaping hole in the plot and, like them, I am going to move swiftly on without attempting to explain what it all means. It’s broke, hopefully Mike can sort it tonight, otherwise it is going to have to go down to Oxford to be mended by people who actually understand physics.

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We have more positive progress in trench N. After cleaning up at the base of the hillwash we could see the fill of an absolutely colossal pit  (at least in area, we have no idea if it is similarly deep yet). We have divided this into quarters and are removing the fill in the north-east and south-west quadrants. That way we should be able to record vertical sections through the pit’s contents in two directions at once. This feature is full of charcoal and worked chert and flint and it is cut into the undisturbed glacial clay. Both of these things make us fairly convinced it is prehistoric.

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Big changes to the features in trench M too. What seemed to be a bowl-shaped pit has now turned out to have two substantial postholes in its base. Here Connie is just cleaning up the edge of one on the southern edge of the pit. This photo was taken this morning; before Chelsea found another very deep posthole on the east side this afternoon.

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The other pit in trench M, with a bit of encouragement from me and Mike, has just been getting bigger and bigger. Chloe, John and James sort out the mess after we have been round  – I think the edge is just back here somewhere (hack, hack, hack) Good, now if you clear up and follow that around….

Wildlife of the day was a big hare sitting in the meadow by Little Bowland road on the drive home.

Rick

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