Excavating a new deposit at last!

Friday 21 August

On site: Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews, Mervyn Evans, Keeley Hale, Muriel Hardman, Mick James, Nigel Harper-Scott, Alan Goodwin, Mike Spencer, Phil Thomas, Lisa Waldock, George Hunt, Christl Squires, Barbara Crombie

Weather: occasional clouds, dry, sunny spells

The bullocks haven’t been into the site overnight, which is a huge relief. Now that we are getting into proper medieval deposits, I was getting concerned about damage.

Fragments of lava quernstone, used for grinding wheat into flour

Fragments of lava quernstone, used for grinding wheat into flour

Congratulations to Lisa, who got her A-Level grades to get into the University of Southampton, and to George, who got four As at AS level!

The road surface on the north-western side of the hollow way, (20), is almost off. To the north-west, it comes straight down onto the last remaining bit of (14), while to the south-east, it overlies the yellowish material seen further up the slope. There are hints that it overlies an earlier cobbled surface, which appears to be sealed by (14), but we need time to sort this out. Mick is working on (12), the road surface on the opposite side of the hollow way.

A new gravel surface emerging beneath the upper road surface

A new gravel surface emerging beneath the upper road surface

Everyone else is tackling (21), the stonier deposit underneath (14) and against the north-eastern baulk, it is coming down onto a lighter deposit. I’m unsure whether this is the same as on the slope of the hollow way or something different.

As Mick takes off (12), it’s revealing a more orange gravelly layer beneath. It peels off really cleanly and it’s evident that there will be a whole series of road surfaces, just as one would expect.

Just after morning teabreak, it began to spit with rain. People kept on digging until it really began to pour from the sky. By noon, it was showing no sign of abating, so I decided that we would have our lunch then and I would decide at 1 o’clock what to do. I drove off to the museum to warm up and by the time I was ready to leave, it was pouring again. Although blue skies were visible in the distance, there was so much standing water in the trench that excavation was impossible. Reluctantly, I called it a day and we all went home.

After the rain

After the rain


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

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