Friday 20 July 2012: we have managed to avoid the rain

On site: Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews, Caoimhín Ó Coileáin, Bernie Matthews, Caroline Ranson, David Croft, Emily Abrehart, Jordan Charalampous, Keeley Hale, Liz Hart, Mick James, Muriel James, Navid Tomlinson, Oliver Sharman, Priscilla Simmons, Rachael Mills, Rebecca Harrison, Richard Phillips, Sid Rowe, Tony Driscoll, Tom Foster, Tz-ling Lai, Ursula Scott, William Hurry, William Siddeley, Nigel Harper-Scott, Arlene Walker, Ivor Davies, Phil Thomas, Amy Saunders, Molly Barron

Weather: overcast, cool, damp

I am very pleased with progress on site. There have, inevitably, been a few hiccups with organisational issues, but they haven’t had a significant impact on excavation work. It’s good that we are now recovering prehistoric material from archaeological deposits, which can only be good for morale. Excavation of the ring section may well be complete by the end of the week (Sunday) and I hope to get on to the henge in the next day or two. The sondage at the north-eastern corner of the trench is turning up a good mixture of finds from Roman back to Middle Neolithic and most of the topsoil that needs removing has gone.

In the ring ditch, the deposit of chalk rubble in the bottom that yesterday looked as if it slumped from the mound now looks more like a deliberate dump. It is convex, higher in the centre of the ditch than at the sides, with a separate (silting?) deposit apparently beneath it. Might it be evidence for the slighting of the mound at some point? There is still no indication of how much deeper the ditch is likely to be; as a ring ditch, I would expect it to have a flat base rather than rounded and near vertical sides (although, at the moment, they seem to be sloping in towards the base).

We had a slight hold-up before lunch, as people were being trained in the use of the Total Station. A backlog of finds to be located meant that digging had to stop, as more were being generated than could be dealt with during training. Instead, the entire team was taken through the off-site finds processing procedure by Rachel. Even then, most people had to stop early for lunch and the return to work was staggered, as areas were made free for excavation when finds were lifted. I hope that this has been useful and reinforced what the procedures should be.

Today has been a relatively quiet day. This is a good sign, as it means that things are running well and that there have been no real problems. It’s a shame that we’ll be losing some good workers after this week (indeed, it’s the last day for a number of them today), but there will be new starters to replace them. We now have some of the long-term members of the team trained in the use of the Total Station, which is very helpful; it’s become clear during the past ten days that the Total Station is an indispensable piece of equipment on a project of this sort.

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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 20 July 2012, in Fieldwork. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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