Now the proper archaeology begins
Saturday 8 August
On site: Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews, Mervyn Evans, Keeley Hale, Pauline Gimson, Nigel Harper-Scott, Ernie Ford, Greg Ford (not digging), Phil Thomas, Clare Skelly, Philip Dean, Lorna Holding, Tony Driscoll, Sophie Brookes, Elizabeth Brookes, Alice Brookes, David Gimson
Weather: sunny, turning to light cloud mid morning, dry
There was a slight delay in starting the digging, as we needed to get some of the plans levelled before people could go on site. This held us up for about an hour (part of the delay was getting hold of some wellington boots, as the approach to the TBM is through ankle-deep muddy water), but a team is now at work on context (18) to the north-west and context (14) towards the centre of the trench.
In the meantime, Keeley is completing the cleaning of the ditch that Muriel could not finish yesterday. This was much more straightforward today!
As expected from last year, (18) is peeling down on to (14) and both deposits do not appear to contain any finds later than the medieval period. Mervyn has found a small iron plate or sheet, , possibly part of a blade originally. On the western slope of the hollow way, Keeley is removing the last bit of topsoil, which is the only source of twentieth-century finds.
The whole site is just about planned now, so we’ll be able to get everyone digging by mid afternoon. We could have up to half a metre or so of deposits to remove from the site before reaching natural, so speed is going to be very important this year.
There are several places where concentrations of larger stones are visible in the exposed deposits, principally in (14) towards the north and (17) in the south-eastern extension. Last year, I wondered if they might be the very degraded remains of a yard surface (blog 28 August 2008); this year, following the publication of Guy Beresford’s report on his excavations at Caldecote, just a few miles to the east, I’m wondering if we’re getting close to some disturbed foundations.