Saturday 17 August 2013: Après le déluge, boue!
On site: Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews, Keeley Hale, Ashley Tierney, Bernie Matthews (morning only), Chris Hobbs, Ivor Davies (morning only), Graham Gardiner, Julie Matin, Laura Slack, Martin Jupp, Mervyn Evans, Nigel Harper-Scott, Phil Thomas (morning only), Rhiannon Gardiner, Rick Kelly, Tony Driscoll
Weather: overcast with patches of blue sky, light breeze
The site is still a bit of a mess after yesterday’s downpour: the outer ditch and pit  still hold water, there is a silt build-up along the south-eastern (lowest) part of the main trench and a series of silt deposits marking the positions of rivulets that formed during the rain. There is no point in trying to clean up most of this, as we are due rain later today (the forecast suggests around 2 pm): the water-filled ditch and pit will have to wait for the water to drain away naturally.
The one exception to the no-cleaning rule is over the first structure to be discovered: I would like to get it defined, photographed and planned today, so that excavation can begin on it tomorrow. The shape has changed yet again following further cleaning, although it still appears to be open to the east. The third structure (fill (359)) appears to be just a short stretch of visible wall foundation and I wonder if we have a different type of building here. Perhaps it is a rectangular structure rather than curving and composed of earth-fast individual planks linked by cross-beams above ground level.
Keeley and Bernie are removing (355) in the centre of the henge: it clearly overlies the ash pile (306), making it clear that this is a first phase element of the monument. It is also becoming apparent that (355) rises up beneath the burnt deposit (29) (which is sealed by (321)) and overlies the inner chalk bank (97). This gives us a really good stratigraphic horizon: anything earlier than (355)—not that there are many contexts that are earlier than it—belongs potentially to the first phase of the henge. Mervyn and Laura are working on removing the last bit of (321) before starting on (29).
Rhiannon and Graham are working on the last bit of (207) at the eastern end of the L-shaped section, east of pit . There are hints that there may be another feature beneath it: there is certainly a patch of darker material that (207) appears to be slumping into.
We packed up after lunch, as all the weather forecasts were predicting heavy rain and I didn’t want to pack up wet things a second day running. There was a little rain on the way home, but there has not been the downpour in Hitchin that was threatened in Norton. I hope we haven’t lost an afternoon for no reason!