Now the fun begins!

On site: Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews, Neil Hassall, Nigel Harper-Scott, Keeley Hale, Phil Thomas, Pauline Gimson, Greg Ford, Chris Hobbs, Clifford Marshall, Mark Perks, David Gimson, Ernie Ford, Mervyn Evans, Tony Driscoll, Sophia Brookes, Alice Brookes, Sid Rowe, Howard Webber, Helen Gillespie

Weather: overcast, breezy, becoming windy by lunchtime

We will be ready to start excavation later, perhaps as early as just before lunch in Trench III. We are also probably likely to get started on planning Trench I before the end of the day. I’n still unsure how we deal with a temporary bench mark as I was unable to find any wooden marker posts at Burymead earlier. I think a lunchtime trip to Bickerdike’s Garden Centre may be necessary.

My enthusiasm for the project seems to be rubbing off on the team. I get the feeling that people are more excited about what we might discover as a result of this season’s work than they were about the two Church Field sites. I think that with the 2008 and 2009 seasons, my increasing frustration over the lack of progress created a bit of a negative atmosphere, which I ought to have worked harder to suppress. We did have significant results from those projects, but I don’t think that their real potential will be apparent until we can add data from the documents. With a prehistoric site, though, we have all the available data here in the ground and there’s no waiting around for documents that may (or may not) add richness to the interpretation.

Looking at the sections of Trench I, it is clear that we have a very complex monument. Some of the complexity derives from ploughing in recent centuries, spreading the chalk of the bank, but much of it appears to be original. As I noted the other day, the inner ditch is cut into the back of the chalk bank, at least to the south-west, while the possible cremation now appears to be beneath the bank rather than in the fill of the outer ditch.

Trench I is now clean and photographed. Mervyn and David are beginning to sieve topsoil samples at 5 m intervals from the spoilheaps on the south side of the trench. They ought to make more interesting finds from this trench than they have from the others (Trench III seems to have been especially lacking in finds).

Excavation has started in Trench III. There’s a mixture of ceramics so far: some prehistoric but mostly Romano-British. From the ditch proper (from which a 1 m wide section is being excavated), there is Roman pottery and a couple of struck flints. It’s potentially early, although not necessarily as early as the Bronze Age.

Planning has been completed in Trench II and started in Trench I. As usual, there’s a bit of a hold-up while just one person draws and others have to wait around for space to become free. At least with three tenches, we can move people from place to place rather than leave them with nothing to do.

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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 20 August 2010, in Fieldwork, Stapleton's Field Dig 2010. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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