End of the first week

On site: Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews, Greg Ford, Keeley Hale, Mark Perks, Nigel Harper-Scott, Ernie Ford, Mervyn Evans, Tony Driscoll, Sophia Brookes, Alice Brookes, Lorna Holding, Phil Thomas

Weather: sunny, occasional light cloud

There was rain overnight, which has softened the ground beautifully (and causing soil to stick to the soles of our boots). We no longer have the over-dry crust that has made excavation so difficult. However, the sun is really strong and there’s no shade, so the ground will dry out rapidly. I’ve also warned everyone to drink plenty of fluids, as there’s a real risk of dehydration.

We’re several people down on the numbers we should have. Chris is unwell and Mick isn’t coming in until next Saturday, but there are two others missing today and Neil has gone back home. It’s annoying when people don’t let me know that they can’t make it and with Mick not being here, I can’t get in touch with people who couldn’t be fitted in. It’s difficult to know what to do in these circumstances.

We’ve started to collect bulk samples as all the features under excavation are Roman or earlier in date, so we have less idea about the environments in which activity was taking place. This is especially important with the Bronze Age features, as there was only minimal environmental data from the Blackhorse Road excavations.

Where Phil has been excavating (5) in Trench II (one of the potential Bronze Age ditch fills, there has been a darker brown deposit appearing on the south-western edge of the cut. I originally thought it to be an underlying silt and was worried that it contains Romano-British pottery and an iron tack. However, it’s now looking much more like the fill of a plough rut that doesn’t extend across the width of the trench, so it’s now been assigned context (10). This means that (5) can still legitimately be regarded as Bronze Age.

Also, deposit (1) in Trench III has come down on to something rather looser that has a Bronze Age sherd inside it. Assuming that it’s not residual, perhaps we are really looking at Bronze Age ditches that only completely silted up in the first millennium AD. That would explain why the Roman material seems to have been concentrated towards the top of the deposit.

Unfortunately, the looser material turned out just to be a patch within (5) and more Roman material was found next to it. So we’re back to having a little bit of Romano-British agricultural landscape in Trench III. This is now matched by a Roman coin from deposit (3) in Trench II; it looks as if it’s House of Valentinian or House of Constantine. Either way, it’s fourth century.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry by Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews.

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

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