The weather today was much better than forecast (thunderstorm and rain expected!). It was a bit humid though for the four of us who turned up. A bit of maintance work was then theorder of the day when Sam and Ian adjusted the hingeopening the gateinto the field, which now works a treat. (Thanks lads.)
Meanwhile Tina continued her metal detecting at the bonfire site before the grass gets its second cut, only finding old hinges and bits of chicken wire. Ian, Sam and Terry trimmed some of surrounding trees in case we had another branch falling incident!
After a coffeee break and a slice of cake we went to Test Pit11 and saw that, considering all the rain we've had recently, it was in quite good order (as seen below).
Test Pit 11, context 01
Test Pit 11, context 02
We first cleared a good-sized area around this Test Pit of grass and weeds etc. and Tina was able to metal detect it, finding several hand-made nails. Despite Ian and Terry only having the basic of tools, they then managed to excavate down to context 02 (above). Astonishingly within that10 cm of soil 6 trays of building material were found including stone, bricks, tiles and slate, one piece of glass and two sherds of pottery!
As it looked like being another hot day Terry erected the gazebo for a planning meeting for our Annual Open Day this year at Winnall Mill in July (see our diary of events).
After the meeting, and while the team (not all represented) were still gathered together, this photo was taken to wish our distinguished member Dr Murray Andrews a very Happy Birthday (that's what the sign says).
Test Pit 12 context 2 with its rabbit hole on the left.
Work was continued on Test Pit 12 by a group of the ladies (not sure what the men were doing!). The soil in this trench had already proved hard going last week, and it continued to be a combination of very compacted soil and a mat of tree roots of varying sizes. Even with the addition of some splashed water it made very little impact. Finally by the end of the day a slightly softer, damper level was reached along with some of the first real finds, but it was still a struggle to attain the targetted second level, 20cms of depth.
The Team in action
Test pit 11, context 04 reached bedrock at 45cm (in the sondage above) so the pit was closed once it was recorded as below.
After some recent heavy rain showers, the team of six returned to the Orchard site expecting it to be rather soggy, but as you can see in the photo below it had drained off fairly well. Whilst working their way down the layers of soil, recording their finds every 10cm in accordance with the Test-pitting scheme, those working on this testpit came across a row of old clay land drains. So they decided to investigate this further, hence the extended trench to the south.
Trench TP13 extention (TP13A)
A nice example of a clay field drain.
Quite why this drain was located here is so far unknown (the location was chosen for a testpit because an old map showed evidence of a possible building here). After digging in the lower part of the adjacent field, where several of our earlier testpits hit very wet clay, the higher ground in thisnorthern area appears to be naturally better drained, although the clay content is also quite high at around the 30cm depth in most of the pits.
The team relax in the lovely sunshine for a spot of lunch.