Another grey and humid day
Friday 12 August 2011
On site: Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews, Sid Rowe, Tony Driscoll, Siân O’Neill, Oscar Farley, William Peters, Caoimhín Ó Coileáin, Nigel Harper-Scott, Anne Pegrum, Sophia Brookes, Elizabeth Brookes, Greg Ford, Keeley Hale, Ernie Ford, Philip Dean, Mervyn Evans, David Sims, Chris Hobbs, Christina Farley, Phil Thomas, Lisa Waldock, Sarah Saxe, Karen Price, Carla Piper
Weather: overcast and humid with occasional weak but hot sun
It’s very warm (although my ’phone is trying to tell me that it’s only 19°) and humid today. When the sun breaks through the clouds, it also feels that it’s burning. I have warned everyone about it.
We have more decorated Impressed Ware from (35). I’m astounded by the quantities of Neolithic ceramics that have been turning up in what is ostensibly a subsoil or colluvial deposit. I will have to re-evaluate how this deposit formed. I have been thinking of it as either a relict ploughsoil forming over the outer ditch of the henge or as a colluvial deposit containing material originally deposited higher up the slope. What has always puzzled me about this deposit is the evident sorting of finds within it: in the upper part, there was medieval and Roman material, probably Iron Age lower down and for the past 50 to 100 mm, only Neolithic material. This simply is not possible in a colluvium or ploughsoil. I wonder if we are looking at a deposit that formed in situ over the outer ditch following its silting; indeed, it might be best to regard it as the final silting.
Before tea-break, we almost ran out of finds record sheets, which I find amazing for a prehistoric site. I had to go back to the office to photocopy some more. I hope these last longer! I only got back to the site half way through lunch.
Right at the centre of the monument (assuming that Trench I really does pass through the centre), there is what appears to be a large posthole with chalk and shattered flint packing. Again, the lack of anything even vaguely resembling a human burial reinforces the interpretation of the site as a henge (or similar) rather than a barrow. It needs to be half-sectioned for excavation.
In the deposits around this feature, Philip D is turning up what appears to be shattered Grooved Ware, including some decorated rim sherds. I’m intrigued by the differential distribution of ceramic forms: Grimston/Lyles Hill and Impressed Wares over the outer ditch, the earliest types; Grooved Ware from the centre, slightly later; and one possibly Early Bronze Age sherd from the inner ditch. This seems almost too good to be true. It also suggests that, as the earliest material overlies the filled outer ditch, the first phase of the monument could be as early as c 3000 Cal BC.