Day 6 and 7

19 Aug

All is good at #caistor as it is now known to the Dear Leader’s twitter followers, although it has to be said that their numbers do not rival those of Lady Gaga. One of the things that has emerged over the last few days is a strange body (cue Carry On style innuendo) that we found just under the plough soil in the ditches trench. The lovely Francesca came out to examine it and suggested that it might be a small adult female, although the bones are really too fragmentary to say anything else. We had to wait until the nice people at the Ministry of Justice gave us a license to deal with it but after that the body could be cleaned up and removed. The burial was so high up that it had been badly truncated by the plough, and only fragments of the skull remained. The skull tends to be the highest part in any burial and is often the first part that you encounter in excavation, so in this case it was the part that had been hit by the plough.

Previously human burials were treated more or less like exhumations and had to be screened from public view during excavation. Now, however, it is recognised that excavations are often very public affairs and so, within reason, you can allow people to view what is after all an extremely interesting process, while bearing in mind that that the line between education and spectacle is quite a fine one that you should try not to cross when dealing with human remains.

Meanwhile elsewhere in the world of ditches, all is looking rosy as we realise that what we thought was natural sand is in fact the upcast from the north ditch. The loss of what we thought was natural (and hence the bottom) is obviously tragic but the good thing is that we now have a big fat pit underneath the upcast from the ditch. This means that the pit is earlier than the ditch and any stuff we get out of it will help date the ditch. This is what archaeologists call a terminus post quem (point after which) in order to make themselves look educated, but it’s a good thing in relation to ditches, which can be very difficult to date. So hoorah for us. Although there doesn’t yet seem to be much in the pit.

Meanwhile back in Giles’ World the of the Anglo Saxons the sunken featured building has aroused the admiration of some and the derision of others. Look below and see what you reckon.

The SFB in progress. What do you think?

The week is rounded off with barbeque and quiz night with Ian taking on a new role as the Bamber Gascoigne of Caistor. The Dear Leader’s team is beaten into second place after failing to recognise the intro to Elbow’s Olympic anthem. He consoles himself by eating his own bodyweight in sausages and plots revenge.

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