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Friday 26 July 2013: my birthday

On site: Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews, Mick James, Amy Brown, Amy Saunders, Bernie Matthews, David Croft, Frances Bourne, Isobel Simmons, Ivor Davies, Molly Barron, Muriel James, Paul Eland, Priscilla Simmons, Sylvia Duncan, Tony Driscoll

Weather: sunny with light wispy cirrus clouds at the start of the day, clouding over after 10 o’clock, warm (23° C at the start of the day, climbing to 27° C by morning tea break, then falling again)

Today is the Day of Archaeology, so I will be tweeting with the hashtag #dayofarch throughout the work on site. One very positive development has already happened: the Licence to remove the disarticulated human bone from site has arrived by email today (number 13-0150), so we can get underway with the investigation of the area where it turned up (and where there is still a piece of human tibia embedded in the ground).

All of (255) has now been removed from the inner ditch, revealing what is clearly the primary silt, to which the number (298) has been assigned. It contains a large rimsherd of Grooved Ware, which is good. Any organic material should be considered for radiocarbon dating; nothing from the ditch seems to be later than Neolithic in date. Apart from last year’s bizarre collared vessel, there is nothing from the site that appears to be of Bronze Age date. It will be interesting to see what the vessel looks like reconstructed: Keeley will be collecting it from the conservator in a couple of weeks, so we can have it for the open day.

It is horribly dry today. Yesterday morning’s rain made everything soft, but I think that a day of baking sun has made to soil very crusty because there is so much clay in it. Tomorrow’s forecast is for rain in the afternoon, with the possibility of a shower on Sunday morning, so I hope that this will soften the soil once again. It’s also proving to be an issue for the excavation of (119), which showed up as a distinctly red colour yesterday but which has dried into the general greyish colour that all soils tend towards as they dry out.

Mick is finishing the plan of the north-eastern end of the site, drawing the strip that Frankie couldn’t fit on her plan. That leaves the south-western half still do to, which I hope we can have completed early next week.

Fill (291) in the outer ditch is still producing Roman material, albeit not in huge quantities. What is interesting is to contrast this material with what came out of the trapezoidal enclosure ditch last year, where more than half the finds were of tegula. Although there have been a few fragments in the henge ditch fills, they are much less common. This makes me wonder if this ditch fill (which is presumably third century in date, based on the coin that was found two days ago) either post-dates or pre-dates the fills of the enclosure ditch. It’s too early in the excavation of this section to know.

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