Day 2

12 Aug

First proper day on site. Internet access from a field is proving, as ever, a little challenging, so this will go up with day 1. Our team arrives fresh and raring to go, suffused with Olympic spirit. The Dear Leader holds forth on the excitement of the season, the need to sieve for fish bone and how to avoid getting covered with blue fluid when flushing the chemical toilets. Following this cultural enrichment, the teams head off to the trenches, with the Dunstan Field billy goats trip-trapping over their little bridge and the ditch team making the slightly less demanding walk up the field.

The first thing to come out is some possible Anglo-Saxon pot from the trench across the river. This is tremendously exciting because what we are looking for is a feature that on the geophysics and aerial photographs from Caistor looks like a Sunken-featured-building (SFB for short). SFBs are buildings constructed above large sub-rectangular pits. For a long time people thought the Anglo Saxons actually lived in the pits, as this would be exactly the sort of behaviour that might be expected from Teutonic barbarian types, but now we know that the floor of these buildings was suspended over the pits. These are the types of buildings that you can see reconstructed at West Stow.

Some buildings at West Stow, like the ones we want to find

The possibility that we might find a feature that is on the geophysics and that it might turn out to be what we thought it was is very exciting although those who remember our non-existent Iron Age roundhouses from 2009-10 may have their doubts. Digging geophysics is always a bit of a high risk strategy and many a perfectly good hypothesis has been ruined by actually testing it.

Meanwhile in the ditches trench the ditches are appearing, which is something of a relief. There should be a road running over the top of them and some suspiciously gravelly patches are appearing. With the truly hopeful eye of the scientist these gravelly patches can certainly be interpreted as a road. Pictures of gravel coming soon.


Formation troweling in trench 10

First cakes of the project from Chrissy and Jack (possibly with help from his wife). Jolly fine they are too.

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