Saturday 10 August 2013: what can we find today?

On site: Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews, Ivor Davies, Ashley Tierney, Chris Hobbs, Emma Winter, Frankie Saxton, Jacky Winter, Jean Andrews, Julie Martin, Martin Jupp, Mervyn Evans, Nigel Harper-Scott, Phil Dean, Phil Thomas, Sylvia Duncan, Thomas Burningham, Tony Driscoll

Weather: overcast, light breeze; some heavy cloud and occasional sunny spells, but feeling cold (the temperature varied between 18° C and 20° C during the morning)

Things have been going so amazingly well that I don’t know what we can do to top the discoveries of the past few days. Perhaps a complete Peterborough type Ware bowl?

Saturday is a day where we tend to lose a bit of continuity among excavators: a lot of those who come in Wednesday to Friday don’t work at weekends, while those who do the weekends tend not to work weekdays. Today, we have no continuity in the southern arm of the L-shaped section: we have a completely new team on the inner ditch (although Mervyn has dug in it previously this season) and a new team on (321), the principal deposit running south from the centre of the henge below (94). Topsoil (199) was removed quickly from the five metre square over the foundation trench of the first structure to be located and Ashley is now planning it. Keeley is continuing to plan the traces of the second structure. Chris is finishing his pit and Martin is moving a small spoil heap by the western corner of the trench to give somewhere for people to stand during the open day on 24 August; in looking through the soil, he found a very nice Late Neolithic end scraper.

Outer ditch section [289] is nearing completion: the chalk edges are sloping in and there is now room for only two people to excavate. More animal bone is showing up, exactly as we found at Easter. With luck, there will be something datable. It would be good to have some ceramics and fired daub. An antler pick would be today’s spectacular find, but it’s probably too much to hope for.

Chris is probaby near the bottom of his pit, [318]; it’s beginning to look sub-square in plan, which is more convincing than the very irregular shape he first uncovered. It was almost devoid of finds but its location, almost exactly in the centre of the entrance, has to be significant.

I’m beginning to wonder if the chalk rubbly material that sealed pit [318] extends into the centre of the henge: there are certainly chalky deposits beginning to show up there. If so, it would provide a useful chronological horizon throughout the monument and would enable us to subdivide the earlier activity into two separate phases before the consturction of the inner ditch.

Today seems to be a day for nice lithic artefacts. Mervyn has found an end scraper in the inner ditch, while Emma has found a broken leaf-shaped arrowhead in (321), close to the centre of the henge. I had been wondering if lithic artefacts were restricted to features (all those found prevously had come from ditch sections, a pit and the bank), but Emma’s arrowhead was in one of the build-up deposits in the centre of the henge. It’s a very unusual leaf-shaped arrowhead, it has to be said: it has no invasive retouch, with both sides of the flake from which it was made retaining their original surfaces, while the edges have been trimmed to create the shape.

It is another of those days when things are running so smoothly that I feel almost redundant. There are few directorial decisions to be made and most of the questions I am being asked are about the identity of finds (which is good, as it means that I am getting to see many more finds than I have in previous years).


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 10 August 2013, in Fieldwork. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: