The last day
Sunday 28 August 2011
On site: Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews, Philip Dean, Keeley Hale, Siân O’Neill, Lorna Holding, Christl Squires, David Croft, Ursula Scott, Tony Driscoll, Mark Perks, Caoimhín Ó Coileáin, Chris Hobbs, Martin Jupp, Nigel Harper-Scott, Jon Goodwyn, Zoe Ó Coileáin
Weather: cloudy, cool breeze
Today is the end of the season and there is a real sense of winding down. I actually feel very emotional about leaving the site and slept badly last night as a result. We are excavating until morning teabreak, after which we will be recording, laying the geotextile and partly backfilling. At least we know that we will be back next year.
This year, we have achieved a great deal (even though we have failed to locate the outer ditch!). When we arrived on site, there was still the possibility that we were dealing with a burial mound and we had little evidence by which we could date it (a rather nice sherd of Grooved Ware from the activity deposits in the centre was the star exhibit). Within the first two weeks, we could demonstrate that the site is definitely a henge because it has a secondary ditch cut into the outer ring of chalk and we had a reasonable quantity of Neolithic pottery, ranging from Grimston/Lyles Hill type ware to Grooved Ware, Impressed Wares being perhaps the most numerous type. We have large quantities of lithics, all débitage, as far as I’ve seen. There is also so much animal bone that we will be able to get some decent radiocarbon dates, at least for the second phase of the monument. We also have our central posthole, which turns out to have a smaller projection into the underlying material at the base of the post pipe, almost as if there has been a lug on the bottom of the post to locate it accurately in its hole.
All the soil samples are now in the store at Burymead in Hitchin. I took twenty 10-litre buckets down this morning; this gives us around 30 samples in all (including a couple from last year).