Second day in Church Field – St. George’s Day, Saturday 23rd April
On-site: Tony Driscoll, Mervyn Evans, Ernie Ford, Greg Ford, Alan Goodwin, Keeley Hale, Ruth Halliwell, Nigel Harper-Scott, Lorna Holding, Louise Pateman. Afternoon: Mary Wood.
Weather: Sunny and hot, sky is clear of clouds with a hazy horizon, forecast of storms in the afternoon; possibly around the end of the day’s digging.
It is noticeably warmer today than yesterday, and I am naturally concerned again about dehydration and heat exhaustion, however, Keeley brought along the new gazebo which provides the team with necessary shade. The gazebo was erected outside the compound because its large size would interfere with work around the trench; it also allowed smokers to use it during breaks. Smoking is banned within the compound to prevent cigarette ash contaminating the site.
The first task was to plan and locate the trench. As this can take some time, I decided to split the group into two teams and use the time as an impromptu training session. Whilst one team learned how to set up tapes, measure and plan the trench, another team learned how to assemble and set-up the dumpy level and take level readings. Nigel and I used this time to retrieve some extra equipment from the NCAG’s garage and set-up the Temporary Bench Mark (TBM) for our trench. Hopefully, this training session will prove beneficial for the summer dig in Stapleton’s Field.
A late lunch was called as planning and levelling of the trench was completed shortly after 1pm and the “door latch” found yesterday was recorded as our first small find. This also provided a convenient break between planning and the next task of digging. Because the planning has taken up the morning, Nigel has contacted Christl to suggest aborting this afternoon’s finds processing. Unfortunately, word has not reached Mary who has consequently turned up; her trip wasn’t in vain as there are still some unstratified finds requiring post-excavation work.
There is still a lot of topsoil evident in the trench, in some areas up to 2 cms possibly deeper, caused by the uneven lifting of the turf. I have therefore decided to use mattocks on these heavier deposits to carefully reduce the height to that of other adjacent areas; the loose created being sieved. I am nervous about mattocking the areas immediately surrounding contexts (2) and (3) and have asked these to be trowelled. The team was therefore divided into three groups; Keeley, Mervyn and Nigel mattocking (wearing steel-toecapped boots) with Louise, Ruth, and Ernie clearing their loose, Lorna and Alan are trowelling and Tony sieving.
By 2:45pm the areas excessively covered by top soil had been reduced to the same height as contexts (2) and (3), although topsoil is still prominent in these areas I thought it prudent to trowel these remaining surfaces away, whilst Tony and Louise sieved the remaining spoil created by the mattocks. This continued for the remainder of the day’s excavation and the site cleared and locked up at 4pm.
A number of finds has again been found today and are consistent in range and type to those found during yesterday’s removal of the turf. There were no new small finds today.