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Chain-gang(nam) style

Marc reflects on the toils of Day One: 

Day one and the weather is stunning so moods are high as are expectations. Everyone turns up on time, keen and raring to go, Simon gives the initial 'housekeeping' talk and off we trundle to get the kit and make our way, wheelbarrows in hand, to the site a short walk away. I have my new pointing trowel (thanks Amy!) and am keen to get scratching.  What awaited us however was not in anyone’s expectations and a whole day of torturous mattock swinging, shovel scraping and wheelbarrow shoving was our reward for our earlier enthusiasm. The sun burned hot, the sweat ran and the blisters started popping and no matter how hard we thought we were working, that damned backfill layer just did not seem to want to thin! I began to wonder what past crime I had committed to warrant such hard labour, as did most of my beleaguered colleagues. Images of pre civil war chain gangs began to spring to mind and I’m sure I heard a few bursts of mournful singing....but I can’t be sure....

Then, towards the day’s end, the reality of the importance of our efforts this day began to show clear as the Terram began to show through and the rewards of our toil, the REAL archaeology, was only another days hard labour away.  Spirits started to rise again, the sunburn was forgotten and we all felt a sense of pride and eager anticipation for the 4 weeks ahead. During the day we had also fielded some eager questions from members of a curious public and we were also surprised to see just how many artefacts our initial labouring had revealed on the first day - we calculated that we had accumulated at least 3 miles of clay pipe stem!

Roll on Thursday......I SO want to use my new trowel...!

 Mattocking out the backfill