Monday 17 September 2012

11. Saturday 15th September 2012

All ten of us (including my unwitting parents), worked very hard to finish off the dig and tidy up all our effects. When we had finished it was as if we had never been there at all. We even managed to finish off what was left of Alison’s cake and ate it enjoying the sunshine and the glorious view.
Backfilling - photo by Jennifer Stearne

The test-pits had their final exploration, finding more charcoal and tooth, plus burnt stone inside the dwelling that encompassed trench 2. After digging two other test-pits around hot-spots, this was somewhat irritating, finding precisely nothing, except a small piece of red stone, in two weeks.

Backfilling - Photo by jennifer Stearne

The conclusion after the two weeks is that we were looking at two separate enclosed farmsteads with various buildings, possibly dated earlier than anyone had expected, so now it is the long wait to get everything dated and see what outcomes there are.

It was a great team effort to plan, topograph and backfill the remaining trenches, but eventually, with David’s trailer filled once again, and with our ‘buckets and spades’, we set off back down the hill for the last time, only the sheep seemed glad that we had gone.

Jennifer Stearn

10. Friday 14th September 2012

As the excavation started to wind down, the last digging took place today in a frantic, busy day.
John Asher sent us these photos:

Looking at Trench 6 - entrance to D-shaped enclosure
(part-filled with wall tumble)

Floor in Trench 7

Saturday 15 September 2012

9. Thursday 13th September 2012

After a well timed and well needed break yesterday, we were all back with a vengeance today.

This meant backfilling trench 1, where even The Management got stuck in! Surprisingly we had too much soil left over at the end, so went sprinkling more soil onto the other backfilled trenches. 

John and Alison both brought cake, so in our first tea-break we had cake, and then more at the second tea-break. So, stuffed full of cake, we headed up the hill, to trenches 2, 6 and 7. Here, David decided to put in a few test trenches where there had been hot-spots found by the metal detector and gradiometer. 
Digging test pits in F52B
Photo by John Asher
In the first and third trenches were found charcoal and worked chert, but in the other two there was nothing but those dastardly bracken roots and worms!

In trench 6, our friends from Africa, who are visiting us from the Ivory Coast, Sudan and Eritrea, did find some animal bone and teeth, plus a very clear opening into the enclosure around the upper dwelling, concluding part of the puzzle.

From the relatively dry but windy morning, the afternoon brought with it the rain. But still we battled on. This turned out to be a good thing, because eventually in trench 7 we found an iron object under wall tumble, leaving David skipping with the finds bag, despite the pouring rain.
Site supervisor, Darcy, keeps an eye on things
Photo by John Asher

We gave up at our afternoon tea-break and just went home, leaving the trenches to the sheep who had already started to walk all over our newly backfilled trenches.

Jennifer Stearne

Wednesday 12 September 2012

8. Tuesday 11th September 2012

Another day of glorious Yorkshire weather today!
The wall of rain and mist gradually did clear and our friends from Africa brought the sunshine with them and it did stay; only temporarily disappearing behind the occasional cloud.

Photo by John Asher
The tarpaulins did come in useful though to cover the trenches that were slowly turning into swimming pools

Today we backfilled three trenches, photographed and recorded what was left. Now only trenches 6 and 7 are being actively worked upon - we are doing some ‘serious trowelling’, which puts into question what we were doing before.
Trench 2, Farmstead 2 - Photo by John Asher
It was once again a rather uneventful day for finds and David may now be sick of the sight of charcoal and the occasional animal bone..

The camaraderie and enduring optimism, plus the addition of excellent and very welcoming ginger cake, really made the rain and the wind seem quite irrelevant today. The archaeology and the madness of all the different people digging defies the weather. But having said that, naturally we have backed out of digging tomorrow and become cowards as the weather forecast doesn’t look at all good.

So hopefully back to the remaining trenches on Thursday!

Jennifer Stearn    

Tuesday 11 September 2012

7. Monday 10th September 2012

Jennifer writes:

A surprising number of finds today, adding to the ever increasing list of finds, including ironstone and flint found by Peter - that wasn’t chert, thankfully!
Photo by John Asher
The work was carried on by a hard-core, or possibly mad, group. But due to the somewhat torrential weather, work ended at lunch. Yet in the morning we still had time to open a new trench, finish the test-trench, backfill it, and also to plot everything on the total-station. 
Photo by John Asher

A surprising amount of work was done, despite the conditions, and typically the sun started to shine as we trudged back down the hill.
Photo by John Asher
Today we eventually gave up trying to chase the sheep off the trenches and left them to it, but hopefully tomorrow they will have left us something to dig, and let it not be a reservoir.

Jennifer Stearn

Sunday 9 September 2012

6. Friday 8th September 2012

Alan Williams writes:

Friday saw the return of the traditional summer weather – low cloud and drizzle. As there was fewer participants than usual (obviously some people pay more attention to weather forecasts than others), it was decided to concentrate the efforts on site 1

A 2x1m sondage was dug in trench 1-1 to show that the paved floor present in 1-2 did not extend this far into the building, adding weight to the idea that this end was where the stock were housed. Well, that failed miserably as soon a series of limestone flooring flags were revealed with a similar spacing to that found in 1-2.

The existing sondage in 1-2 was extended after some of the flags were carefully removed (to be re-instated later) to see if there was any underlying structure. A couple of small charcoal fragments were found which should be able to augment the dating evidence of that found in the original small sondage. A small fragment of charcoal was also recovered from between the flags in 1-1 by the eagle-eyed Peter G.

By lunchtime it was evident that the weather was not  going to improve and with the workers looking increasingly like participants in a mud-wrestling competition, David decided to draw the activities to a close for the day.
Alan Williams
PS No photos as Alan didn’t want his camera ruined by the mud and rain…


Friday 7 September 2012

5. Thursday 6th September 2012

Jennifer writes:

Today the weather was less good to us and a prevailing wind kept up, but thankfully the rain held off.

Photo by Alan Williams
Another small trench was added to see if we could find the threshold of the larger ‘dwelling’; no such luck yet, but eventually some charcoal was uncovered.
All trenches have been going down further today, but still, very little has been found.

The very handsome Darcy - Photo by Alan Williams
Our “guard dog”, Darcy returned today and stole anything that was edible! 

Once again, an excellent cake kept us going at our afternoon tea-break, thank you again.

In all, very little happened today, but all the bits of finds - like a tooth and charcoal - were inevitably found at the end of the day, causing much nuisance, but then again, we were told to start finding things, so we duly did!

Photo by Alan Williams
Although we spent a lot of time watching the RAF fly- pasts, we still got a lot of digging done and we should hopefully start finding more significant things in the days to come.

Jennifer Stearne