Day 18

Day 18 turns into a major day for cake, courtesy of Hazel Massey and Judy Booker, who come up trumps on the home-made comestibles front. As if this weren’t enough, Philip Fellowes-Prynne of May Gurney, not content with providing tools, containers, fencing, machines and cherry picker, also shows up with some ace cake. The director is away from site, having been forced to return to Nottingham to move office. This may be part of a new policy of “aggressive desking” by the Department of Archaeology, designed to introduce a feeling of insecurity among its lecturing staff. Either way, his timing is poor as he misses a certain amount of baked produce, although Hazel L (who actually runs the project while the director walks around pointing at stuff) saves him a bit of Philip’s chocolate cake, while Dave G also delivers one of Hazel M’s chocolate cupcakes in a finds bag.

Anyway, enough of cake lest we turn into Test Match Special. On the archaeology front, the lovely pits in trench 2 are still yielding a certain amount of goodies if you’re into building rubble, chalk and clay. This particular lovely pit seems to have been dug and then backfilled with a big lump of masonry, which even the director’s overactive imagination is struggling to explain. The gullies revealed by the geophysics are proving stubbornly resistant to discovery despite repeated soaking and trowelling.

Trench 1 is having a day off, allowing its diggers to escape the world of periglacial gravel and hope that someone spends the day sowing their site with gold chalices. The smug church trenchers continue to bring in Roman pot as if it’s going out of fashion. The Saxon pot, which we boasted about a couple of days ago, seems to have dried up a bit, and the pit full of mussel shell which was threatening to be Saxon seems to have turned into a late Roman ditch. This is a bit unfortunate as a Saxon pit would be decidedly more sexy (if one can apply such an adjective to a hole full of old mussel shells). Surprisingly, we seem to have hit natural at the bottom of the ditch, which is a bit of a result as we are supposed to finish at the end of the week. Thus far the huge masonry building picked up by the geophysics 10m to the west does not seem to extend into the trench, which is bad news for us but probably good news for the Church who would like to put their septic tank/soakaway in this location. But who knows? The answer, as ever, lies in the soil.

Excitingly, this is being uploaded live from site via Charlie’s dongle, which has obviously been the cause of some Frankie Howardesque tittering. Big hoorah for Charlie for the use of his dongle.

Here's Mike Page's lovely image of periglacial trench 1. Can you spot the circular thing that misled us on the geophysics?

Here's Mike Page's lovely image of periglacial trench 1. Can you spot the circular thing that misled us on the geophysics?

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