Today the sun shone and we made a truly remarkable find. Not on this occasion deposited 5,000 years ago but instead deposited this very morning.
Let me explain. Every morning Alistair (Professor Alistair Pike) – sometime chef of this parish and archaeo super-scientist – sallies forth to a local supermarket to pick up provisions to feed our ravening hoards.
From Canada with love: the postcard from our erstwhile digger
This morning was no different save for the fact that when he arrived at the supermarket’s bakery he received not only bread rolls but post: addressed to, ‘ The Archaeologists who buy 36 bread rolls everyday,’ It would seem our fame, while (unlike our digging team) not necessarily global, has spread as far as Marlborough Tesco.
In the trenches we’re now down beneath the worm sorted horizon (or ‘the crunch’ as its known on site) in Trench 4 and at least a couple of possible features have appeared. We positioned the southern end of the Trench to intersect with the northern corner of Alexander Keiller’s 1934 trench, which allows us to tie our excavation into his work. And now it’s cleaned up we can see once again what a thorough job he made of it.
The archaeology of archaeology: Alexander Keiller’s 1934 trench (far left side of our Trench 4)
This afternoon we also had the pleasure of the company of members of the Prehistoric Society.
Josh explaining the finer details of Trench 6 to our visitors from the Prehistoric Society
If you haven’t encountered them before and you have a yearning for things pre-Roman (and lets face it what right-minded individual doesn’t) the Prehistoric Society is a must. They have a packed year-round programme of events, lectures and visits to sites and excavations, a newsletter and the society’s journal (now available on-line). Go take a look at their website and see what you’ve been missing.
Well, I don’t know what we have done to deserve such good digging conditions for the last few days but let’s hope it continues until the end. Everyone seems very chilled out and enjoying themselves today.
Josh and Dave grubbing around in Trench 6
One of the best things about digging on a site with such a shallow stratigraphy is that you are into the good stuff very early on. On the majority of archaeological sites, you spend the first two weeks digging through rubbish (and I don’t mean the interesting midden type of rubbish either) before you get down to the serious archaeology, but on this site finds were popping up almost straight away, and after nearly two weeks of digging, they are still appearing at a steady rate.
Mike undertaking some sneaky digging and the arrowhead-rich pit, now fully excavated
However, it’s methodical work and progress is continuing at a steady pace, the Neolithic pit mentioned a couple of days ago is now fully excavated and the finds packed away ready for cleaning and analysis. There is also a mysterious bank appearing in the section of trench 4 – who knows what that could be, theories are wide-ranging to say the least. And of course the work done here is the just the tip of the iceberg, there is all that post-excavation to get through before everything will start to make clear sense.
There have been a lot of visitors to the site today, it seems everyone is out and about enjoying the sunshine, including Radio 4 who called by for a chat with Josh. In particular it’s wonderful to see so many families with children visiting – nothing like capturing the imaginations of the next generation.
Today (finally ) brought sunshine and the team have made good headway clearing down towards the worm sorted horizon in Trench 6.
Getting down to business in Trench 6
In English (rather than archaeospeak) that’s the layer in, and just above which, we’ve found the vast majority of the middle Neolithic finds we’ve had from the site.
Doctoral student Emily Banfield excavating the pit in Trench 4
The most exciting development of the day was the discovery of what seems to be a middle Neolithic pit in Trench 4. So far it’s produced no less than 5 Chisel arrowheads (all of slightly different types) and a very fine scraper.
3 of the 5 chisel arrowheads and the scraper from the pit in Trench 4
There’s a long way to go to finish digging the pit. So check back in to the blog and see how things develop.