A mixture of sunshine and cloud today, so cooler. The ground was still damp from overnight rain, which Julie found in T06 made for a sticky surface in the clayish soil to work with in context 003.
Ian in T15 had reached context 004 and, as the test pit yielded few finds, the decision was made to do a sondage of one third. Towards the end of the day Terry brought an auger across and took it down even deeper in one corner of the third.
One of Paul’s boys had earmarked a sloping area near a buttercups patch as a place of interest, so Roger worked there in T08, discovering a few finds including a piece of clay tobacco pipe. Ironic in view of his work at Cripplegate the other year! Roger left early, so Paul decided to join in here and scrape off a few more layers. A budding archaeologist in the making!
After Margaret had recorded some pit locations and drawn the sections of T07, Keith kindly filled the latter in. Meanwhile Tina did some sieving and metal detecting of each open test pit and spoil heap, while Francesca sorted and cleaned some more finds down by the building, where we’ve been allowed to store our tools and finds temporarily.
Finally the flint found by Tina last week while detecting the lawn near the house was, photographed so that it could be sent to an expert to examine and possibly date it.
A busy day all round. Well done team!
For a change today's indoor activity consisted of several different aspects of finds processing. Usually the first one is to wash the finds, which Tina is seen doing below. Sometimes only when the dirt and mud is removed does it becomes obvious that what we previously thoughtwas a piece of pot was actually a piece of stone. Or the scruffy looking object when cleaned up proves to be a little gem of a find!
After the finds have dried they are weighed (which is what Keith was doing below on the right) and this, along with the item's description and location on site, is recorded onto a database to be included in the final report.
But today we went two stages further. Like last week, we separated more of the finds into material types for our expert to examine and, for the purposes of finally archiving, we also labelled up finds related to the reports that are nearing completion. This process involves the use of a fine pen and black or white ink to write on the find itself a code that relates to the site where it first originated from. This enables it to be easily traced back to its source should it become separated at any stage from the rest of the collection. (The reader will have noticed similar writing on artefacts in museums.)
This proved to be a very changeable day with sunshine and showers.
Test Pit 9 was opened today by Ian and Keith. This trench lies at the far north east of the site, adjacent to the boundary and the sunken road. Due to the recent rain the ground was still quite wet here. They took it down to context 003 or 20cm, where the layer of stones common to the site soon appeared. Among the finds were some bottle glass, pottery and a small metal casement latch. At the end of the day they backfilled T14 which was now completed and fully recorded.
In Test Pit 8 Roger took it further down to context 004 where he soon came upon a large noticeable area of charcoal amongst the reddish sandy clay. Some Pottery and glass was also found.
Sam continued with Test Pit 6, which several members have worked on in the past. This had been taken to context 005 (40cm) by Julie last week, so Sam removed another layer of dark sandy clay from the southern half of the pit going down to 50cm, with little more of interest found. It will probably be backfilled next week.
Francesca cleaned and sort finds and Margaret took photos and kept a record of all activities, while Terry took a walk down along the stream. Meanwhile Tina did her usual metal detecting in and around the test pits and helped with some sieving.
Needless to say that the forecast rain eventually stopped play.
Today our members attended a training session on recording Contexts sheets with a view to later creating a Matrix from them. Murray Andrews (a member and qualified Archeologist) kindly agreed to present the Powerpoint seen below and clearly explained how these worked. (Most of us would agreed that it stretched our minds!)
So, hopefully, next time we are "out in the field" this talk will have given everyone a better understanding of not only how to fill in our context sheets with great detailed and accuracy, but also appreciate the overall site beyond the one trench we happen to be working on at the time.