I was out at New Laund this week to talk to John about plans for future seasons, but also to discuss grass and especially the lack of it. Trench R, which we are going to dig this summer, is going to be a bit bigger than previous excavations. This making him twitchy because last summer’s trenches haven’t really recovered in the way we hoped they would after we re-turfed them. This is especially galling because at the time I thought we had done the neatest job so far on the project putting it all back.
I went up to look for myself and take some photos. This last year’s trench M, not a great wicket, even by parks’ department standards. Trench N is about the same and trench P is worse. It is on a slope and the pesky cattle have trodden a lot of the turves up to eat the soil underneath. Admittedly, there is not a lot of grass growing anywhere at the moment but you can kind of see John’s point.
However signs that all is not lost, this is Trench K, from 2013, which looked similarly rough last spring and has recovered to the point where you have to know we were here to be able to spot it. I’m hoping the once the grass starts to grow a bit then some of the worst scars on last year’s trenches will have started to mend.
This is where we want to put trench R this summer. We will be digging somewhere between the two sheep-tracks in the middle foreground. The line of the inner ditch of the enclosure comes through here and there are also three or four more pits like the ones we dug last year. Our main priority is to get as big a section of the ditch exposed as possible. The more of this ditch we dig the better chance we have of understanding what went on in the enclosure. In particular it would be good to get datable charcoal from the bottom layers. So far, none of the charcoal Denise has looked at from the base of the ditches has been suitable for radiocarbon dating. We can get a good sequence from the various pits but nothing to tell us when the enclosure itself was first made.
Of course the other reason for coming out to see John in the spring is to get to see lambing. I must have been out a bit earlier last year as they are all a bit more grown up now. However, here are the rightful tenants occupying the building we use as a site hut in the summer.