Another damp and cold Thursday

Thursday 18 August 2011

On site: Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews, Nick Smith, Keeley Hale, David Sims, Jim Skipper, Helen Gillespie, Laurie Elvin, Nigel Harper-Scott, Chris Hobbs, Phil Thomas, Mark Perks, Siân O’Neill, Dale Jackson, Caoimhín Ó Coileáin, Tony Driscoll, Philip Dean, Lisa Waldock, Jon Goodwin, Sophia Brookes, Alice Brookes, Jim Kirby

Weather: overcast, cool, occasional spots of rain following a shower around 8.30; raining by lunchtime

A large block of chalk

A large block of chalk, used as packing in the central posthole

Despite the weather forecast, we are actually on site. The weather is autumnal but reasonable for digging, at least this morning. We are due for heavy rain by 1 o’clock, so we may have to make a rapid exit from site later.

Chris, Phil and Nigel are examining the eastern edge of the inner ditch to make sure that it really is a silted up cut feature. I am still not entirely convinced by it, although the section on the north side of the trench looks very like a cut with fills.

The removal of (35) is proceeding more rapidly. Caoimhín came up with a useful suggestion that no details on the object sheets are filled in other than the number, the co-ordinates and the object type. This gives us a lot more time for digging and lifting finds; the objects sheets can be completed as part of the initial post-excavation work.

Jon and Lisa have started work on the north-east facing section of Trench IV. Although it’s a long one, it’s not complex and the main issue is the rapidly changing height, as it’s running against the contours. It will be useful, though, to see where the monument sits on the slope. It appears to lie at the point where a steep slope up from the bottom of the hill becomes more gentle, although this may be a misperception on my part caused by the location of Trench I across the centre.

A turf line is turning up in the inner ditch, below (79). It shows up well in section and on the western side of the ditch. This suggests a period when silting was no longer taking place and grass began to develop in the ditch. This may provide a context for the trampling visible higher up: a tradition of movement inside the ditch may have been established when the grass developed and this continued after silting had started up again.

It started to rain around 12.50. By 1 o’clock, it had become obvious that it was set to rain for at least several more hours and that everyone would be soaked to the skin by the end of lunchtime, so I decided to pack up for the day. At least we got half a day’s digging done, which is more than I had feared yesterday.

Black clouds looming

Black clouds looming, bringing rain

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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 18 August 2011, in Fieldwork, Stapleton's Field Dig 2011. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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