The best thing you can say about the weather at the moment is that it is moving fast. It is also providing a good test of how well our students understand the archaeological process. The main problem with bad weather and digging is not that the site becomes unworkable but that constant wind and rain make you stupid. At the risk of sounding like Rudyard Kipling or Sir Henry Newbolt then I think that we can safely say that students understand excavation if they are still making all the right decisions even though they are wet and cold, the pens won’t write on the finds bags, the total station is too fogged up to take readings and they have become 2 cm taller through all the mud stuck to their boots.
Despite the weather we have got on well over the last two days in both of our opening areas. This was this morning, when we were cleaning up the surface of the subsoil in both areas. Danny and Becky are using the total station to record the position of finds. We have already got about 80 pieces of worked stone, mostly chert but some flint and a single piece of Langdale Tuff. This is the raw material from the well-known Neolithic axe production sites in the Central Lakeland Fells. Langdale axes were exchanged all over Neolithic Britain so it isn’t really a surprise to find a piece on our site, although it is good evidence that this part of the site is Neolithic.
The feature we are looking for in this area is the inner ditch of the causewayed enclosure. It should run underneath the line of trowellers in the right-hand trench and come through the left-hand one behind the yellow buckets on the trench edge. It is often the case that the inner ditches of causewayed enclosures were the place where the most objects were deposited when the site was in use. Given the amount of stuff we have found so far i am quietly confident that we are going to continue that trend.
Yesterday, the combination of the rain and an absence of grab-bags had driven us down the hill for an extended dinner-break. While I fidgeted about waiting for the Berry’s delivery wagon to bring us more kit I was chatting to John about getting some tables and chairs into our barn. This is to give Rob a surface to sort his sieve residues and wash the finds on. There is a lot of furniture up the track at Reed Barn, where John does most of his farm visit events. John himself was waiting for the Honda rep who was delivering a new quad-bike. Not wanting to miss this by traipsing off to find us tables and chairs he entrusted me with the keys to the old bike and trailer. I jumped at the chance, leapt on the bike and trundled off, admittedly relatively sedately, along the track. Quad-bike is now top of my Christmas list. Actually I would like a departmental one for remote landscape survey, but think of the paperwork.
Wildlife of the day appeared in Rob’s flotation tank this morning. Once he had got it plumbed into the beck and running properly we noticed that tiny fish were swimming around in the tank itself. They were safely underneath the sieve mesh, so I don’t think they will come to any harm.