Day 10: 99 problems (but a ditch ain’t one)

22 Aug

After the excitement of the family weekend, it’s back to the day-to-day business of pushing back the frontiers of knowledge. We’re going to open up some more trenches around the sunken-featured building to look at the enclosure that seems to surround it. Hopefully the residents of the building will have spent some time chucking stuff into the ditches so we will be able to get some more idea of who was living there at any particular point. We are of course hoping that it will come out with a nice 7th-8th century date to go with the other material that has come off the field over the years. Our initial ideas for placing our other trenches come undone when we realise that, as is traditional, we’ve put the spoil heap for the original trench in exactly the same place as we want to put the new trench. The Dear Leader toys briefly with the idea of asking some students to move the spoil heap but realises that this might play out badly later when they’re asked to fill in the National Student Survey form. So the new trench will get shifted slightly.

Peer demolishes the small wall of soil he has left between himself and his colleagues (courtesy of Sue)

Meanwhile in the ditches trench, we may have some Saxon pot to go with our post-built structures, although it has been identified by people who by their own admission don’t really know much about Saxon pot, so we won’t publish that one yet. Richard the Bone Man has arrived to do a lot of sieving in the hope of recovering fishbone. He doesn’t find any but draws an admiring crowd of women of a certain age who are taken with his manly sieving prowess.

The ditches trench in action, with Neil’s array of planning frames ready for some extreme stone drawing. Don’t try this one at home kids (courtesy of Chrissy).

The heat has meant that the portaloos are starting to whiff a bit and it’s been so humid that the grass is growing like anything inside the marquees, which have a sort of hothouse effect. This is particularly pronounced in Kathryn’s Small Finds tent which is starting to look like Max’s bedroom in Where the Wild Things Are. This is not, of course, to suggest that Kathryn either wears a wolf suit, or makes mischief of one kind or another, but we may have to get a strimmer in.

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