Week 1 Roundup

It’s been a busy week with lots to think about.

We spent the first part of our week laying out and opening Trenches B and C. Trench B has a lot of archaeological features in it, but also many modern features too. Most of the work in Trench B this week has been digging and recording these modern features.

In Trench C (40m long x 2m wide) it was soon obvious that the enclosure visible on the geophysical survey was full of ancient activity. Early indications are that the enclosure and the features on its interior date from the Late Iron Age (the period just before the Roman Conquest). This week we hope to get a better understanding of the date and function of the features in Trench C.

Watch this space!


The end of our first week has come around very quickly – Monday seems an age away! The team has been powering through the features in both trenches, and our record folders are steadily being populated with dusty context sheets and plan drawings. Georgia and Danni’s Iron Age ditch was also the first to be photographed. Johanna had to douse her feature/pit with water just to make it out in the baked clay – it was full of charcoal but sadly no artefacts.

Ski dropped by this morning to metal-detect the spoil heaps and found a couple of pieces of pottery and a piece of lead. James brought out his new toy a Bartington MS3 magnetic susceptibility meter and with Cubby’s help measured the magnetic susceptibility of the soil in and around the features on the south side of Trench C. We hope this technique will help us to identify features in the very dry subsoil.

The big discovery of the day was made by Lucy and Andy – our biggest sherd of Iron Age pottery so far. Hopefully there’ll be lots more where that comes from.


Lucy finds a big sherd of Iron Age pottery © The Lufton Project

All in all we’ve had a very successful week and morale is very high – looking forward to the barbeque tonight though!


SSARG volunteers Peter, Pete and Graham enjoying some hard labout © The Lufton Project


Today the team really got in to the archaeology on site: most of the modern features in trench B were excavated and recorded, and we got started on trench C.


El happily digging © The Lufton Project

The press joined us in the morning to interview James and take photos of what we’ve been up to for the local paper.

An article will be appearing in next Thursday’s Western Gazette so keep an eye out!

Over in trench C Lucy found a big piece of burnt clay in her feature while Danni uncovered a load of Late Iron Age or very early Roman pottery (Black Burnished Ware) on the south side which made James, our site director and Roman pottery specialist, very happy.


In the evening we all headed over to Seavington St Mary to listen to James’ sold out talk about ‘Somerset and the End of the Roman Empire’ which helped to raise funds for the village shop .We were all very proud of him!


Sold Out! © The Lufton Project


Today, our JCB driver arrived with his toothless bucket and stripped both trenches revealing loads of interesting archaeology, including last year’s Iron Age enclosure ditch. The team took turns machine-watching and marking out features in the clay before it dried out and they disappeared. Trench C (40m x 2m) unveiled an unexpected number of features which surprised James, our site director.

Cleaning up the sections of trench C © The Lufton Project

Lucy and Dave spent the afternoon with Andy setting out the site grid whilst Danni, Johanna, Mary and Dave then spent some time cleaning up the archaeological limits of excavation in trench C and the rest of the team started trowelling back trench B (15m x 15m).

Lucy and Andy setting out the site grid © The Lufton Project

The team excavating trench B © The Lufton Project

Cubby found the base of an late Iron Age vessel, and a bit of Black Burnished Ware was discovered on the spoil heap.


Cubby and his Iron Age vessel © The Lufton Project

The digging starts!

James and Andy started by setting out the trenches on site (trenches B and C) after discovering that the alignment of the site grid wasn’t quite the same as last year’s. The rest of the team then started de-turfing trench C (40m x 2m) before the ‘big yellow trowel’ arrived to speed up the process.

Machine watching with James in trench B © The Lufton Project

Unfortunately the digger turned up with a toothed bucket which meant quite a lot of tidying up for the gang- but a chance to get stuck in with their trowels!

The team were also given a run-through of levelling and recording and are now ready to get in to the swing of things despite the heat!

The team hard at work © The Lufton Project


It’s taken a little while to get our internet access sorted. Now we’re online we’ll try and post every day during the excavations.

We had a long and hot journey down to Somerset in the minibus and a nice meal in the Camelot (South Cadbury) after arrival.

We spent Saturday and Sunday setting up camp and getting organised for the the excavation. There was lots of digging gear being moved to site (the tent, shovels, and all the sundry items needed to run a dig)  and a visit for a very big shop to a local supermarket. We bought plenty of food including the world’s supply of chickpeas.


Home Sweet Home © The Lufton Project

We also went to the top of Cadbury Castle and explored the hillfort. It’s an amazing site and would have been an important local centre during the Iron Age. The view across to Glastonbury always looks lovely.


Glastonbury Tor from Cadbury Castle © The Lufton Project

There was a bit of drama on Sunday night when Adam was taken ill. Unfortunately he’s had to head back to Blyth. Possibly Sunderland supporters are allergic to Yeovil

The team all looked forward to getting on site and starting work on Monday morning.





A week to go!

In a week’s time we’ll be heading south. There are lots of preparations going on in Newcastle:

James is worrying about the open day

Andy has acquired the world’s supply of 6 inch nails

Adam has packed his kit already

Lucy’s moving house

Johanna’s busy laminating

Georgia needs to read her email

Danni is buying sweets

Dave’s bringing his riot control boots

Cubby’s fire eating

El’s wondering what the food’s going to be like.

Meanwhile in Somerset, Nigel’s suffered an industrial accident (not related to the project). Get better soon!




2012 Excavation Report Now Available

The preliminary report on the 2012 excavations has been completed and can be downloaded by following the link below.

This report is a ‘post-excavation assessment’. As the name suggests, this is a provisional statement that assesses the significance of the excavation. It also includes lists of finds, records and a stratigraphic matrix for the site.

Any questions about the assessment should be directed to Dr James Gerrard.

Lufton Post-Excavation Assessment 2012