The start of week 5: Wednesday 8 August 2010

On site: Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews, Caoimhín Ó Coileáin, Aimee Crossland, Ashley Tierney, Bernie Matthews, Christl Squires, Claire Halley, Frankie Saxton, Hannah Blannin, Hazel Alford, Isobel Simmons, Ivor Davies, Izzy Gray, Jean Andrews, Jim Skipper, John Byrne-Nash, Jon Goodwyn, Kit Carstairs, Nigel Harper-Scott, Philip Dean, Priscilla Simmons, Shone Nash, Sid Rowe, Steve Warner, Tony Driscoll, Tony Ireland, William Hurry

Weather: overcast, occasional very light drizzle first thing

We are starting with teams working on all five sections of the outer enclosure. In the terminal of the western ditch, there appears to be very little left to remove and I hope that it will be finished today. Frankie is continuing with the special deposit inside the henge, while Jon is finishing the cleaning of the inner ditch section, ready to start work on its excavation, and Philip is cleaning out the posthole section excavated last year. The principal outstanding task is the Total Station survey of contexts within the henge: this needs to be done before any other survey work is permitted.

At the base of deposit (172), Frankie has located two fragments of what appears to be fused soil of some sort, similar to an industrial residue. It clearly is not industrial in nature and I assume that it derives from some sort of burning and formed in a similar way to “cremation slag”. Given that there is plentiful evidence for burning in the deposit(s) through which this small pit was cut, it is not too surprising to find something of the nature; however, it does suggest that the burning was intense.

Planning is going to take some time. There are 27 contexts to be surveyed, of which 20 or so are new. Of the others, it is not always possible to match them up with context numbers assigned in 2010 and 2011. Progress has been slow: by lunchtime, I had been able to survey just seven.

It is becoming very warm. Despite the rain over the past few days and the drizzle first thing, the ground is horribly dry. In the outer enclosure ditch, the clayey fills are stiff and cracking, while the more sandy deposits in the sondage are simply hard. We really can’t win with the weather!

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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 8 August 2012, in Fieldwork, Stapleton's Field Dig 2012. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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