Thursday 7 August 2008

On site: Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews (morning only), Mick James, Cameron Gormill, Hilary Wood, Lisa Waldock, Alan Goodwin, Freddie Sharman, Muriel Hardman, Philip Dean, Sheila Love, Luke Gearing, Alex Hill, Chris Hobbs, Jack Brierley

Weather: overcast, dry and cooler than yesterday; short showers before lunch and a thunderstorm mid-afternoon

Hoeing and deturfing

Hoeing and deturfing

Today, we need to complete the turf removal from the main part of the trench and to lay out the south-western arm (and get the turf stripped from that, too). The forecast is threatening rain for this afternoon; although we had the same threat yesterday, it seems rather more definite today. I’m going to be in the museum this afternoon, so we’ll have to see how things go.

It looks as if I won’t be able to get to Shonali and Jason’s wedding tomorrow, so I’ll be here. I think this is important, anyway, as the first decisions about where to excavate will need to be made tomorrow and I’m the only person who can realistically make them. It’s now quite clear that we will have reached a point where people will need to start planning.

Nearly finished deturfing

Nearly finished deturfing

On site, turf removal is progressing more rapidly than yesterday and I think that we’ll have the main part cleared by lunchtime. After lunch, we can get people trowelling the main trench, while Mick gets the grid and south-western arm set up.

There is a little bit of rain in the air at the moment, which may bode ill… Having been promised rain showers, this may be the start of it, in which case we won’t get a lot done this afternoon.

There were a couple of short showers just after noon: we could see the rainclouds approaching, but the main rain passed either side of Norton. It’s a bit worrying about progress for later, though. I’ve agreed with Mick that if there is thunder and lightning, people are not to shelter under the trees: as the highest things in Church Field, they would be the first things to be struck, which would not be safe!

As the turf is nearing complete removal, it’s been possible to undertake some initial hoeing on the cleared areas. Mick and I agreed that the men should do the heavy work of de-turfing, while the younger members and the women should do the hoeing. This isn’t a sexist decision, but based on the greater body strength of the men. I don’t think people were unduly offended by it.

Laying out the south-eastern trench extension

Laying out the south-eastern trench extension

Just before lunch, Mick and Muriel laid out the south-eastern extension to the trench, which will run parallel with the hollow way. If we are correct in identifying the platform as the site of a demolished building, this extension will take us away from it, I hope into a yard area.

I left for the museum a little after 12.30.

Speaking to Mick in the middle of the afternoon, it appears that they were briefly affected by the thunderstorm, although it was soon over. It was possible to get the turf stripped from the extension and start trowelling.

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About Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews

I'm the Archaeology Officer for North Hertfordshire District Council Museum Service. I was born and brought up in Letchworth Garden City, so I have a life-long connection with the area.

Posted on 7 August 2008, in Fieldwork, Norton Church Field Dig 2008. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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