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Showing posts from May 17, 2015
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Week 2 in pictures

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Day 10: the halfway point and the rest is looking bright

The second week is over and we are finally free of the backfill. 
Today, me and Ellen finished the drawing of the clay deposit, that can be seen to the west of the site, adding the rocks and the hachures to indicate slopes and dips in the clay. To make this drawing accurate a metre grid had to be placed onto the earth with all of the 4 sides being level. This does not sound like a hard task, but we have concluded that this is extremely difficult especially as once it becomes perfect it can be easily knocked. This is mainly due to the fact that each of the corners are held up by a series of rocks balanced precariouslyunder or on top of the grid itself, resulting in a test of whether or not the rock or brick we are holding is going to cause the bubble to reach the middle of the spirit level or whether it will throw the whole thing off balance.
We also attempted to take levels using a dumpy level this morning however, this needs the use of mathematics and my early morning brain got very co…

Day 10: What a week!

The weather went from being awful and raining (typical British weather) to lovely sunshine and then it ended on a moderately warm but not sunny day. We also had many laughs at various things, one being a piegeon flying straight into the fence and leaving behind its body weight in feathers, and another whilst playing the Alphabet Game which got a little out of hand. But all in all we had a very productive week and we found many interesting things!

Personally my goal has been to find animal bone or teeth and I finally achieved that and found my first ever cattle tooth!!! Woo! My mother thinks it's slightly weird how excited I was but she's supportive none the less. Whilst I was excited about finding my first tooth, Kate was onto her billionth. Our team had been slowly but steadily excavating the Roman road which has been amazing! Although we did mistakenly take out a few stones but the road is still intact, thankfully.

For today and yesterday Meg and I have been drawing the site p…

Day 9: Selina's outline of finds processing

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The past week mostly consisted of digging and interacting with people coming to the site, but one of the things I found myself enjoying most was our finds workshop.  Whilst in all honestly, brushing bone with a toothbrush in some lukewarm water is most definitely not the first thing I feel like doing in the morning, I found the exercise to be rather relaxing, though I had to enlist the help of Dan and Chiara on both sessions to clean the teeth for me – I sincerely refuse to like to texture, it’s so… gross.  There’s not a lot to explain with the actual process of washing teeth; you fill up a bowl with warm water and brush the artefacts with a toothbrush, or a sponge if you’re unlucky enough and you then have to leave the artefacts to dry. Whilst I’ve lost the pictures of them being squeaky clean, I do have pictures of some of the artefacts we had to wash, though thankfully they can be seen even without the hard work of a toothbrush and a sponge.
After being left to dry, the artefacts had…

Day 9: Digging with different abilities

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It is  fairly often that I get asked what I am studying for my degree and generally the initial response I get is 'But how can you be an Archaeologist?'. This is often followed by a swift glance at my crutches, wheelchair or mobility scooter, dependent on which mobility aid I need that particular day.

Obviously the whole idea of having mobility issues and working in a trench does seem wildly improbable at the outset, but it is simply a case of doing what I can, when I can. Today, for example, I have been having a pretty good pain day. My pain levels were low enough for me to be mobile without straining any of my joints.

The other major factors with being 'in the field' as a disabled, Trainee Field Archaeologist are the team around you and the weather. We had almost perfect excavating weather today - cool enough to be comfortable with the troweling, but warm enough to prevent us freezing to the spot! I am very, very happy to be working with the amazing bunch of stude…

Day 8 in pictures

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Day 8: Once more into the breach dear friends, once more …….

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The battle continues …. 
Myself and Meg were still battling through the clay mound situated near the drainage network trying to reach the charcoal surface, but at the same time searching for our hidden treasure hoard. Alas no treasure hoard was found! Nonetheless we embraced the same exuberance as we unearthed some more crunchies (bones) and some ceramic sherds of the Roman and Medieval period. Although, hands down, Meg found the best find so far in our section; two fragments of bone that tailored together, possibly a leg joint. Good job Meg, I guess the gold will have to wait for now.

Come dinner time we’d completed our mission and reached the charcoal surface, which was timely as Ellen, Rachel and Kate had finished their section on the western section of the site, finding a lot of cattle teeth and few ceramic sherds. Unlucky girls!

It was at this stage that we began playing the alphabet game in the morning which extended into the evening. It’s truly amazing how long you can play th…

Day 7: EEH BY GUM! GET THA BONES WESHED.

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So for today's task, some of the finds collected over the six days, needed a good 'wesh' as us Yorkshire folk might say. That is where we came in. The morning was spent washing finds, using toothbrushes, washing up bowls and long thin sticks. There is something very satisfying shifting mud from the little crevasses of the bone and ceramic revealing that pretty surface under all that mud. Not everything can be 'weshed' though, metals and some wood are best left alone for now. I ALMOST sacrificed a piece of wood, but saved it from the bowl at last minute.


After the washing the finds our group went back to the site, which had been restored by the morning groups to its former fencey glory. This was after some delinquents, in there idea of 'faffing' around, had pulled down the fence and some of the tent overnight. Although it annoyed us all, some light relief was brought from a pigeon dive bombing and face planting the fence. I could also finally get some use out…

Day 6 Cleaning the Finds

This morning began with the interesting task of cleaning the finds; which was a very delicate, time consuming (especially when playing ‘who am I’ for 3 hours) and even relaxing job of removing all the dirt from the finds which have been unearthed over the previous week. Most of the objects we had to clean were bones and some ceramics; this included my most favoured find which is a large cow horn or possible Minotaur… It took well over an hour to clean this one object, the whole horn was filled with clay like dirt and thankfully most of the other finds were much smaller in size and didn’t take long at all.
The day was definitely going our way as it had been raining all morning so as soon as lunch comes the rain cleared, the sun was dazzling and so my path to food was sealed. 
The second half of the day was not as relaxing but still very delicate as me and Cam were tasked with keeping the rocks in place whilst working around them to push the trench further back, swerving our trowels a…

Week 2 begins with some spring cleaning...

18 May 2015 18:33 Week two of our dig started poorly..... I lost a bet to Dan.

This however didn't dampen my spirits for the days activities as today was the first day of post excavation with the finds. We were only cleaning the finds today, which for the first couple of hours was very therapeutic. Mine and Ross' boasting over our horn finds started to deteriorate during this activity as cleaning them took a long time and was extremely tedious and annoying as the dirt got into every nook and cranny. Also, towards the end of the session our hands became so wrinkly that it became very uncomfortable to wash the artefacts.

Luckily I missed the showers, which the other groups got hit with in the morning and the sun came out for the afternoon. We carried on excavating our designated areas, and it was business as usual really. Our finds were typically of animal bone and pottery sherds, although it seemed as though Harry and Hannah had come across quite the find - a large animal bone…