Promise me son, not to do the things I’ve done

The kids were meant to be back up on site this week but the weather was not Nintendo DS friendly. Like a lot of archaeologists I am not sure how I feel about my children becoming archaeologists in their turn. Entirely selfishly, I think that they might fancy something a bit more remunerative to keep me when I retire. It may be that they would also like something with a bit less rain.

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For most of Monday conditions were so horrible that all you could do was follow the procedures mechanically, get the job done and wonder if this was really a great career choice. A bit late for me as I have been doing it for 30 years and am conspicuously lacking in skills in any other area of work but definitely a day for thinking ‘Don’t follow me down pit son’. Phil, Sammy and Katie are nobly plugging on with their ditch segment in the pouring rain and hopefully not seeking a transfer to history.

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The limestone pavement got a lot of attention on Monday too, one thing about cleaning a stone surface is that it stays workable in even the heaviest downpour. The way that the limestone is weathered here is really good evidence that this was an exposed pavement in prehistory. There is a lot of rounding and solution hollowing which could only have occurred if the rock was exposed to the elements. It looks as if people used the pavement as a working surface, just on the inside of the enclosure ditch.

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However, the job is usually its own reward. Late on Monday John found these two chert blades in the pit or ditch segment he is digging. What is special about these is that they fit back together. They are two pieces that were removed from the block of chert one after another. The fact that we have found them both in the same feature tells us that this stone tool manufacture was happening here, right in that feature. If they had been made somewhere else it is highly unlikely that both re-fitting pieces would have found their way into the same hole. John is holding in his hands the evidence for a single moment in time about 5500 years ago.

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Today we have had a bit more clarity, both with the weather and consequently with the archaeology. George and Scott have defined the upper fills of two more ditch segments just outside the limestone pavement. They have also found a lot of worked stone and some substantial pieces of charcoal. The large feature Scott is mattocking may be the other end of this…

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Which John is having a go at the other end of. He had another fine chert blade in here today which may also fit with the two he found yesterday. These bits of ditches are on a slightly different line than the big segment that Sammy and Katie are recording, which is more good evidence for the episodic way that the enclosure was created at each gathering.

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Even further outside are these two pits that Chelsea and Debbie got nicely cleaned up by the end of today. The deep one by the far section was earlier. This was filled up before the large shallow one in the foreground cut through it. The finds bag in the bottom of the deep pit has more fragments of what may be prehistoric pottery in it – we will see once we have got all the mud off it.

Rick

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