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Showing posts from May 15, 2011
We're back for our 12th season. Keep up to date with all the discoveries, brought to you by our daily bloggers.

Through stained glass...

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Emily updates us on yesterday's progress -
Today we started our day with planning - not world domination, but in our trench - the large bit between the two field drains, which includes a lot of building debris. Although it sounds a bit dull, drawing what is on the surface onto a grid, it can also be challenging and gives a really close insight into the archaeology and allows one to pick up details and features which one wouldn’t see at first. For instance, we found two as yet unidentified metal objects and could make out changes in the soil, which gave evidence of the structure of our mystery building. Meanwhile, at the north egde of the trench, excavators revealed a long ditch aligned with large stone slabs, the function and significance of which is unclear, but that is the charm of archaeology - you don’t really know what you’re dealing with and when you finally start to figure it out, something new comes up and changes everything.

We continued our day with excavating and focusi…

A day of recording

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Zoe updates us on today's activities -
Today we spent the morning working with the finds already uncovered at the beginning of the excavation. We took some of our washed and cleaned finds from the previous session, and our job was to label them with the site code and context number. This involved using Indian ink and carefully inscribing all the relevant information onto the find.
This was tricky at first, because most of us had not had the practise of working with that sort of ink before. It was sometimes tricky to work out where the information should be written, and sometimes the find was too small to fit all the information onto it!
In the afternoon, myself and the rest of the group were asked to take our turn at section drawing, which involved observing the soil at the edge of the trench, taking a measurement of each layer, and recording it down onto a piece of paper. Hopefully when all the drawings are put together they should form a sort of vertical map of the site (and no-on…

Singing in the Rain....

Ali sings 'Do the Conga' and perhaps has a touch of trench-fever already! -

It was a rainy beginning to the day, but it did not break our spirits. We were still singing 'The Conga'.
Joe and Lewis were tunneling... I mean excavating... most of the day ('Do do do'...) Bev, Mark, Anna and I spent most of the day planning. Thank god for umbrellas! They are very useful for protecting drawings. (Do do do...)
I discovered many useful pointers for completing elements within my assessment for the dig. Cheryl is a star for putting up with us all day.
Gary very nearly became a girl in an unfortunate accident, but luckily quick reactions and communication by a shouting Mark prevented this. Mark did not even nose-dive into the trench or swan-dive today! However, he did display good creative dancing skills whilst avoiding the drainage ditch.

Ali signing off (Do do do, come on and do the Conga......)

IN OTHER BREAKING NEWS...
Heidi admitted to committing ant murder with her trowel…

Day 6 - Bert the squirrel

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Lyndsay manages to write an update even after mattocking most of the day -
Today was an eventful day. In the morning we were sent down to remove a plinth of soil that stuck out like a sore thumb before having group B’s first photography session.
Here we learnt about the zoom, focus and how these cameras are so much better than mine, which is broken and sitting in my wardrobe somewhere. It was then explained that there are two types of photography used in archaeology: the commercial and the academic shots. Commercial shots are all the awe-inspiring elemental shots on front covers and for those of us working hard on things such as newspapers and blogs!! But as we were focusing on the academic side, our shots were for recording purposes. We looked through the camera eye piece to frame the final photo, we added scales and important information on a photo board, such as the site reference, trench number and a north arrow. All in all this was a really good experience and I wish we could ha…

Day 6 - Learning the ropes: section drawing and finds processing

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Katie H. describes non-digging activities -
My morning began with finds processing, where we were finally able to reveal the artefacts from the mud and soil covering them. It was nice to finally be inside in the warmth, instead of being cold and damp in the trench. We were able to warm our hands whilst cleaning pieces of pottery, glass, bone and the large array of clay tobacco pipes. On our break Julie even made us a cup of tea to complete the hospitality, which we thank her for greatly! Brushing the mud off artefacts was actually quite therapeutic and calming, and generally set the day off to a good start. We can now begin to get a clearer picture of what was happening on the site and having sherds of pottery dating from around the 16th century we can get an idea of the dates that we are looking at.
After lunch I, along with my group, started section drawing, which we had never undertaken before. After adjusting to the scale of the drawing, the trench became clearer and the different…

Rain for Monday.. but still we dig.

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Day 5 - Week Two Begins
Lewis reports from a soggy but still cheerful trench -
In spite of the overcast conditions (and the fact that it was a Monday morning), the excavation got off pretty much the same as most of the other days. This primarily involved the trench being cleaned, resulting in even more finds being uncovered. Although, surprisingly only a small handful of clay pipe was found today.
There were other activities going on at the site, as well, such as photographing the site (see pic of my group getting instructions) and site planning.
Despite the sun coming out during lunch, which gave us a chance to play ball in the park, this didn't last very long. The miserable weather returned for the rest of the day with heavy rain for the most part of the last session. This didn't seem to affect my group much as Adam and Joe did their best to boost moral.

The building emerges

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Mark starts us off early on Monday morning -
Now that a good deal of the compacted overburden has been prized from between the gaps in the 17th c. rubble surface, it is much easier to envisage the footprint of the building previously mentioned by Heidi. Regularly occuring padstones on which timber posts may have sat protrude over the surrounding building debris. These padstones do not appear to be of homogenous manufacture. One appears to be made of a series of mortared Tudor-style bricks indicating that materials from an older building was used, and this structure may have been a service or lower status wing rather than a mansion hall (if at all associated with Cholmondley's Hall). A medieval green glaze sherd was also found in this level.
Metallic artefacts have not been abundant at the dig as yet, but an interesting copper alloy chain and attached "T" bar (see pic - possibly part of a suspension mechanism, size approximately 30mm x 30 mm), was found centrally within t…