The last couple of days on the project were very productive. All pre-excavation plans and context records are done and trenches 11 and 12 have been sub-divided with sondages across the principal features. The ditch in trench 11 has given up a fair amount of burnt flint and flint flakes and cores, making the team wonder if it predates the Roman terracing upslope. The upper silty matrix came down on to a layer of flint nodules and flakes yeasterday which the team got through with admirable speed and efficiency.
In trench 12 three slots have been started through the principal ditch and ‘splodge’ feature to investigate the relationships between these elements and a narrow u-profile gully which runs alongside the features to the east.
Again more early Roman pottery is coming out of the feature, together with bone and burnt flint. It is still early days with this trench but we should really get through it from Tuesday onwards.
The magnetometry and topographic survey have continued apace. 46,000 topo points have been collected overall, surveying the area of the Romano-British settlement. The magnetometry has covered around 5 hectares of the site, and was slowed on Friday when one of the students who has worked so hard on the survey got an iron nail stuck to one of his boots. All of the data from one of the instruments had to be thrown away, and Rachel redid the grids on Saturday. A frustrating day for all concerned.
I managed to get a minute to take a photo of the marquee with trench 12 in the distance, and the field with the survey teams through the hedge to the right. Unfortunately this was the last time that we got to see the site like this, as the rain and wind got up, and work had to finish by 2pm. We also dismantled the marquee in preparation for the tail end of hurricane Katya which is meant to pass through on our days off!
A team of birds of prey experts also came to site in the morning, bringing with them a peregrine. Paul, Mandy and Michael gave the students a demo of the peregrine and talked through the trianing of birds of prey. Thanks very much for coming, itwas the highlight of the day.
So in all another successful week, in spite of being rained off on Tuesday, and the bad weather on Saturday afternoon. Next week we will be moving a team up onto the medieval site, and doing some resistivity along the valley to the south of the hunting lodge to check out some possible buildings there. The excavation of the ditches will also continue with the topographic survey.