Day two: Saturday 30 April 2013

On site: Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews, Keeley Hale, Tony Dricoll, Nigel Harper-Scott, Jon Goodwyn (a.m. only), Mervyn Evans, Jim Skipper, Chris Hobbs (a.m. only), Phil Thomas, Julie Goodwyn (a.m. only), Alan Lewis, Ivor Davies, Frances Bourne, Julie Martin, Lindsay Duncan, Sylvia Duncan

Weather: cold, dry, very cold breeze, sunny spells, occasional snow

Sieving in the snow

Sieving in the snow

After yesterday’s very cold weather (it was only 3° by the time we packed up at 3 pm), it feels slightly warmer today although the breeze is still icy. We have a large turnout again, which means that we can continue with sieving the spoil from machining. Although there are not large quantities of finds, we are getting the odd sherd of Neolithic pottery, flint débitage and Roman material. Keeley is continuing to draw the south-west facing section, while Jon and Mervyn are cleaning the exposed surfaces in the ditch. I am hopeful that the lowest fill of the ditch will contain finds, possibly structured deposits.

There have been a couple of snow flurries but nothing really severe. It does seem to get much colder during these episodes. Nevertheless, people are continuing to sieve with good humour. It probably helps that we seem to be getting more finds today than yesterday.

Nigel with the bones at the bottom of the ditch

Nigel with the bones at the bottom of the ditch

Nigel replaced Jon in digging the ditch section after lunch and almost straight away discovered what appears to be articulated animal bone from a pig-sized animal. Soon after, Mervyn discovered a group of teeth. These are evidently structured deposits in the bottom of the ditch; a radiocarbon date from the articulated bone would provide a very reliable estimate for the date at which the ditch began to fill. This is very exciting and very fortunate.

Interestingly, the quantity of finds coming from the sieved material dropped off significantly during the afternoon. It looks as if there was a small part of the spoil heap that derived from a finds-rich part of the trench: I suspect that this is the ditch. The finds contine to be purely Neolithic and Roman (including, inevitably, a House of Valentinian coin…), with one Late Iron Age sherd, which may be earlier first century BC, as it resembles the early material from Baldock.

Things are definitely going well!

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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 30 March 2013, in Fieldwork, Stapleton's Field Dig 2013. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Bernie Matthews

    Great to hear you are getting useful finds.Wish I was there but in Brisbane Australia om holiday.Temperature here is 32 C.

    Regards Bernie

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