Where my ditches at?

Yesterday we got our magnetic powers back. Our gradiometer is still away being fixed but the replacement hire machine turned up on Monday. Mike, Scott and James have been using it to complete the survey of the pasture.

GIS screenshot_2

Here is all the data, fifty seven 30 x 30 metre grids in total, after Mike and James processed it and I have located it onto the mapping in QGIS. This year’s trenches are marked in blue and you can see that the ditch we found in trench P (bottom left of the plot) continues around the hill. It then seems to curve up to the north, about level with survey point 24, before returning along the other side of the hill to where we put trench Q. Excitingly, there also seems to be another circular ditch inside the bigger one. This would just cover  the higher bit of the hill. Inside the ditches we can see many similar anomalies to the ones which we dug this year. These are all likely to be prehistoric pits too.


We have even better evidence that the ditch continues around the hill from trench Q. Cut into the natural glacial clay here we have found a small v-shaped ditch with a silty upper fill. This is almost identical to the shape and fill of the rock cut ditch in trench P on the other side of the hill. Although it has quite a lot of charcoal in it, it doesn’t have anywhere near the density of worked stone we found in trench P. This may be because this part of the ditch is much further away from the big pit clusters, and hence the centre of the occupation area.


The giant pit in trench N is a very good example of the kind of thing some of the other anomalies in the magnetic data probably represent. This one seems to have had quite a long period of use, with layers of filling visible. You can see the difference between a dark brown upper fill and a much lighter deposit at the base in the section behind Jack’s boots as he helps finish a final clean of this. I, meanwhile, was standing on the grab bags photo-directing to get the best possible shot of all these layers in their pit. I suspect this feature will finish up on the cover of this year’s interim report.

Mike saw two weasels playing on the way up the hill from the barn this afternoon. This was going to be wildlife of the day but is probably pipped by the trench Q selfie (if you call it a selfie when you take it on a Nikon D90 digital SLR).


Apologies to Ravelry for stealing their pun for the title, and to James, whose job it normally is to make the puns on site.


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