Norton Community Archaeology Group in The Guardian

Friday 28 August


On site: Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews, Muriel Hardman, Mick James, Nigel Harper-Scott, Alan Goodwin, Phil Thomas, David Croft, Ursula Scott, Karen Leiper, George Hunt, Sophia Brookes, Alice Brookes, Elizabeth Brookes, Christl Squires, Louise Pateman, Tony Driscoll

Weather: cloudy with occasional sunny spells and occasional showers, windy, cool

With only two days to go, the archaeology is getting complex and we seem to have features related to occupation at the north-western end of the trench. There is clearly a great deal more that could be excavated, but we will be leaving it to a future project. We have nevertheless demonstrated the quality of the remains in Church Field and the potential of the site for future research. We aren’t trying to solve the riddle of the universe or rewrite the medieval history of Norton: this isn’t Time Team!

Better than Time Team: your director comes shrink wrapped!

Better than Time Team: your director comes shrink wrapped!

The Guardian G2 supplement has the story about the project today in an issue dedicated largely to archaeology. The story is well balanced and I’m glad to see that it quotes Lisa and Cameron as well as Phil and me. The council and our various sponsors are all mentioned, too.

More clay patches like (27) are turning up, mostly towards the south-western edge of the trench and all with their surfaces at roughly the same level. Some are really quite small (around 0.25 m square), so only (27) actually looks like a floor, although I’m sure that they are structural.

Bizarrely, the paler material under (21) is dropping away almost vertically around 3 m in from the north-western edge of the trench. It’s a very distinct and clear slope and I’m currently at a loss to explain it. The material filling the deeper part to the north-west is still (21), though.

On the south-eastern side of the hollow way, Mick has discovered that (16) seals a part of (12) that has been under-dug. Finally, this end of the site is making some sense. It’s been my fault for not trying to tackle it before.

We had ten members of the North Hertfordshire Archaeological Society turn up for a site visit at 2.30. They seemed impressed with what we’ve achieved and Gil made the interesting suggestion that the clay lumps around (27) are the remains of cob walls pushed over when the building was demolished. So we know why we have a floor apparently without associated foundations.

Lumps of clay bat walling

Lumps of clay bat walling

Apart from the very deep part at the north-western end of the trench, (21) is now almost completely removed. The underlying deposit is still undulating, although not as much as I originally thought. I still wonder if the sudden changes in level to the north-west and south-east are something to do with underlying foundations.

How much more we can achieve before the end of digging tomorrow is unclear. We’re going to have to plan the still unnumbered deposit under (21) and I’d like to begin removing it. We also need to plan (27) and the possibly associated other clay lumps.

The road surface extending to the south-east

The road surface extending to the south-east

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

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