Rob and I have been up on site today. We have been moving equipment and surveying before everyone else turns up to start digging on Monday. When we got to the farm this morning there was no-one around (as indeed there hasn’t been most of the week) but Daniel’s dog was standing in the beck looking very hot and slurping down gallons of water. After a bit, John and Daniel turned up on a quad. They have been gathering and shearing the sheep all week over at Dinkling Green, which is about three miles away. After a week of this in the heat and humidity the dog had decided that enough was enough and had taken herself off home for an unsanctioned holiday.
After we had climbed up the hill in the airless humidity we could kind of see where she was coming from. This is the first time I can remember that it hasn’t been raining when we have come to lay out the site grid. As I have mentioned before, it is good to get these jobs done before everyone else is on site. Obviously, no one can start digging until we have correctly located the positions of the trenches on top of the geophysical anomalies we want to investigate. Equally obviously, a hot day and complex machinery means that there will be plenty of opportunity for doing things several times until you identify the simple mistake which means the total station keeps saying Bad Data Error – unable to compute position. These are the times when it is good not to have an audience of 20 people leaning on shovels waiting for you to get it right so that they can start work.
Eventually we sorted it. The forest of wooden grid pegs in this photo marks the position of the trenches we are going to start digging on Monday. There is a 20 x 20 metre area where we have the innermost ditch of the causewayed enclosure particularly well-defined. We have marked this out with four pegs but unless we are feeling particularly superhuman we will not be digging the whole area. Within this space we have set up two 6 by 4 metre evaluations which is where we will start work. Once we have some results from those we will expand the excavated area as necessary. We just need to remember not to put anything large and immovable (like grab bags full of spoil for example) down anywhere within the 20 x 20 metre area. We will also need to fence a compound off with the electric fence from the beginning. As you can see we have both cattle and sheep in the field with us at the moment. We have even treated ourselves to a new energizer for the electric fence.
Wildlife of the day has to be the scary mutant triffid/cactus/thistle thing I found growing further up the pasture. Suggestions as to what this is and how it happens from anyone with more botanical knowledge than me (so anyone with a pulse, basically) would be very welcome.