Church Field excavation day 1

On site: Mick James, Paul Palmer, Christl Squires, Philip Dean, Tony Ireland, Mervyn Evans, Alan Goodwin, Karen Leiper, Clifford Marshall, William Peters (arrived 11.00)

Weather: sunny all day!!!! The forecast looks good for the remainder of the week so… fingers crossed


Starting to excavate the topsoil

As usual we are sharing the field with 10 large Welsh Black bullocks. Let’s hope they are less adventurous than last year’s class. We are here this year to try to find out the origins of the trackway through the field. Yesterday, a small core of helpers transported all the fencing to the field and pile-drove 20 posts. This morning’s first task was to erect the fencing on the posts. This was achieved by 10.45. The 10 metres x 2 metres trench was de-turfed by lunchtime!! I decided to setup two Temporary Temporary Benchmarks within the compound. This is because the TBM in the field is on the bullock’s drinking trough which is a long way away and hard to get to. Our first attempt at getting a benchmark reading on the trough failed because the water and mud was so deep that Karen (as the only one with Wellington Boots) declined to risk getting stuck. Paul and Cliff managed to find the answer; 2 pallets rescued from a nearby skip, I believe. A triumph for lateral thinking.

Water trough

Difficulty getting to the Temporary Bench Mark!

Digging started immediately after lunch. I was determined that we would try and remove as much of the topsoil as possible before it dried out so we attacked it aggressively by trowel.

Almost immediately we came down onto a chalky and stony gravelled surface in the northerly end of the trench which has been revealed for about 25% of the length of the trench so far. All in all, a very good starting day.


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 1 September 2010, in Fieldwork, Norton Church Field Dig 2010. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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