The first day of digging

On site: Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews, Neil Hassall, Mick James, Muriel James, Tony Driscoll, Ernie Ford, Christina Farley, Oscar Farley, Mark Perks, Greg Ford, Howard Webber, Philip Dean, Sid Rowe, Clifford Marshall, Nigel Harper-Scott, Mervyn Evans, Christl Squires

Weather: overcast, sunny spells, chilly

Cleaning Trench II

Cleaning Trench II

Began with an induction, which has highlighted just how distant Trench I is from the others. After the rain overnight and a bit of weathering, the features are showing up nicely.

People have started to clean around the top edge of Trench II, which is progressing fairly slowly owing to the clagginess of the soil. I hope that we’ll have it finished by afternoon teabreak, after which we can give it a quick trowelling. We should then get it planned tomorrow.

It’s horribly cold for mid August, though blazing sun would make the ground turn to concrete. If we can continue the pattern of rain outside working hours coupled with overcast skies while we’re digging, progress should be okay.

I’ve applied for a licence to remove the possible cremation burial in Trench I. The system hasn’t really changed with the dissolution of the Home Office and transferral to the Department of Justice.

The north side of Trench II is now clean and there is less to clear to the south, so progress may be quicker than I first thought. We may be trowelling after lunch! Trench III needs cleaning next, which will be a much smaller job.

The outside of Trench II was finished by 2.45, allowing people to be moved to Trench I, which is so long it will not be finished before the end of tomorrow. Trench III is progressing quickly, too.

The denuded henge bank visible in section

The denuded henge chalk bank barely visible in section

Having another look at Trench I, it appears that we have both sides of the henge. There are two distinct areas of redeposited chalk, each between two ditches. The outer ditch appears huge (10 m “wide”, although it crosses the trench at an angle and is probably no more than 3 m wide) and there is no trace of mound material in the centre. It still looks much more henge like than round barrow like.

In looking at the spoil from Trench I, I found what looks very much to be a geometric microlith. There are also sherds of grooved ware type pottery in the material from the centre of the possible henge. This is all looking very promising indeed!

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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 18 August 2010, in Fieldwork, Stapleton's Field Dig 2010. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Oh, this is very interesting! Shame the weather isn’t playing along. Good luck with the rest of the dig!

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