Week two on site: where we need to make rapid progress

Wednesday 12 August

On site: Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews, Pauline Gimson, Lisa Waldock, Muriel Hardman, Mick James, George Hunt, Owain James, Tony Driscoll, Christina Farley, Oscar Farley, Georgina Brackenbury, James Brackenbury, Christl Squires

Weather: overcast, wet

This week, we need to remove (14) to expose what’s underneath it, to deal with the chalk ‘surface’ that’s turning up on the north-western slope of the hollow way and to understand what’s happening with the road surfaces on the south-eastern side. There’s a lot of work to be done.

On arrival, there had been further disturbances by the bullocks. They had smashed the fence in one place and broken it down by the gate. They had removed and chewed most of the plastic bottles we put over the grid pegs to make them safe and had left fairly deep footprints all over the site. This is getting beyond a joke. It’s a shame they couldn’t be removed from the field for the duration of the dig.

Shortly after starting work, it became a bit drizzly, but not enough to stop work. The ground is very hard and dry, so Chris went home to fetch the hose. As soon as he’d appeared back in the field, it started to rain seriously, so I got everyone off site into the shelter of the trees. Mick and Muriel began to soak the site – I am amazed at how effective the hose is, as I’d thought that the pressure would be too low at this distance from the tap – and the rain continued to get worse. I consulted Mick and Chris and we agreed to send everyone home until 2 o’clock, when I’d make a decision about whether or not to work this afternoon.

Even when it rains, we need to use the hose!

Even when it rains, we need to use the hose!

It was still dry when I arrived back at Norton around ten to two, so encouraged people to come back. As soon as we’d got the wheelbarrows full of equipment half way through the churchyard, it began to pour down. We took shelter under the trees by the stile in the hope that it would clear up, but it continued to get heavier. By half past two there was no sign of it stopping and, even if it were to stop, there would be little point in setting up in site, as it would soon be time to pack up again. Reluctantly, we abandoned site for the day.


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 12 August 2009, in Fieldwork, Norton Church Field Dig 2009. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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