Farming Today

When we got to site on Thursday we knew the weather had taken a serious turn for the better. Since we left on Wednesday night, John, Daniel and Thomas between them had mowed about 100 acres of pasture and they were already well on with turning it all to dry. They think they have until Saturday night to get it all cut, gathered in and sheeted over.

My contribution to all this was to follow John over to Dinkling Green in the Landrover to help him fasten the three-point linkage bit of a grass collector to the back of his tractor. This meant I got to have much too much of a good time driving the Landrover back to work along the farm tracks with the sun shining, windows open and Bryan Adams on the radio.


Meanwhile other people were getting on with proper work. Here are Danny and Becky in the cold and rain on Wednesday measuring the positions of finds using the total station. This records the easting, northing and elevation co-ordinates for each artefact we discover, this gives us the raw data for all the exciting distribution plots we make every winter. Once the finds have been recorded like this then they can be picked up and taken down to the farm.


Where Rob’s finds and sample processing empire is now highly organised. Lauren is washing Wednesday’s finds at the end of the building. Once they are dry she will add their details to the spreadsheet on the laptop. This already contains their positions, downloaded from the total station at the end of each day by Danny.


Now Lauren has cleaned it I can also post a picture of the Langdale Tuff flake from Wednesday. Pete found another one of these in 2013 up on the New Laund Enclosure. While I was photographing this I also took some of the other finds to give an idea of the range of raw materials.


This is a small blade made from brown flint, this raw material must also have been imported, there is no naturally occurring flint around Whitewell. Over the last few years we have found that, although most of the stone tools at Whitewell are made from locally occurring chert, about 20% of them were made from imported raw materials, usually flint.


Today we have been pushing on down through the hillwash to get to the layer where we expect to be able to see the upper fills of the inner enclosure ditch. We think we have it in the northern trench. There is a darker layer of soil running from in front of George and Phil. towards the camera across the trench. We have marked the right hand edge with line-marking paint. In this photo the left hand edge shows as a slight colour change from under where Scott is scraping loose onto his shovel and running towards the big stone by the section string. Reassuringly this is pretty much exactly where the inner ditch should be according to last year’s gradiometer plot.


We have a similar depth of hillwash to remove in the southern trench but this too seems to have features showing in the right places. There seems to be the top of a medium-sized pit showing in the north-west corner (just behind where Suzanne is standing with the mattock). I am confident that early next week we will have all these features properly exposed and recorded and we can start to think about digging them.



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