Even though we have reached the mid point of our final week in Somerset, work has not slowed down.
In trench A Hayley and Chris continued to excavate and then plan the feature which has been producing lots of medieval pottery and animal bone. Later in the afternoon part of the team began backfilling the large slot in the middle of the trench.
Today in trench B, Kimberley and Ollie spent the morning drawing a section of the NE slot. After a break they troweled the base of the ditch, assuming some interesting troweling techniques and also had a near miss with a combine harvester.
As well in trench B Andy, Flora, and James SA investigated a ditch which predated the crunchy red fill. James G suggests that the layer found this morning contains “remnants of our ancient past” but that is how he also described our corned beef hash. It actually proved to be a ditch and contained some sherds of prehistoric and Roman pottery, a very degraded animal bone and some pieces of granite. All very mysterious but clear evidence of pre-medieval activity.
Sorry for the delay in posting. Tuesday was a busy day on site and we didn’t get around to writing it up until today.
The main event on Tuesday was the completion of James G, Kimberley and Ollie’s big slot through what has now proved to be a large and deep medieval ditch, rather than a holloway. Finds were few but we encountered our old friend the ceramic field drain.
Elsewhere the day began with some heroic mattocking and shoveling by Andy, James SA, Jess and Flora. All of this effort went into removing part of a 30cm thick layer. This layer is very red (due to iron staining) and quite tough, it’s been known on site as ‘crunchy red’ (or context 105) for most of the past week. The big medieval ditch cuts this deposit, so the ditch must be later. This was confirmed by the recovery of two pieces of Roman pottery and some prehistoric flints from the crunchy red. Rather excitingly an even earlier deposit (context 123) has been identified BELOW the crunchy red… who knows where all this might end?
Trench A saw Pete M’s splodge turn in to a rather dramatic medieval pit with quite a lots of finds. Mainly pottery but also some animal bone. Hayley and Chris had a lot of fun planning this feature in the afternoon!
Today was a very busy but cooler day, with lots of exciting finds.
In trench A Lucy, Chris and Pete excavate a very large amount of medieval pottery some of which was decorated. They also found some bone. The spoil from trench A was sieved by Hayley and Matt, who is a first year student from Newcastle visiting for the day.
Whilst trench A produced lots of finds, trench B produced far fewer. Kimberley, James G and Ollie continued to excavate the slot in the NE of trench B and uncovered the continuation of the field drain from the slot in the NW corner.
Also in trench B Jess dug and planned a circular feature. James SA continued to excavate another round feature and then helped Andy to remove a large red layer in the centre of the trench.
Flora and Elliot continued to excavate a pit in trench B where they found Two large pieces of bone.
You can see more photographs of the 2014 excavations on our Flickr account by searching for Lufton Archaeology.
On Saturday Evening James gave a talk to members of the Lufton community about the excavations and research over the last five years, hosted by Brympton Parish Council.
The talk was also an opportunity to show of some of the finds from this years excavations, including the seal matrix found by Ski in the first week.
After a very successful raffle, James answered a number of questions from the audience about this years excavations and the archaeology of the area.
We’d like to say thank you to the parish council for their kind welcome, hospitality and generosity over the last few weeks.
Woofton traveled to South Cadbury today. Having explored Cadbury Castle, avoided some cows and watched a Vulcan bomber and a Typhoon take part in the air display over RNAS Yeovilton, he retired to the Camelot Inn where he treated himself to a long, cold one.
(with apologies to John Mills, Sylvia Simms and Anthony Quayle and Carlsberg).
We started today by visiting a large commercial excavation near Yeovil. The site is being excavated by Context One Archaeology and looks quite exciting.
Back at our site, we had a busy afternoon. In trench A Lucy and Pete found the edges of the SE feature, they began excavating and found lots of medieval pottery,bone and a ceramic small find.
In trench B, Kimberley and Ollie planned a context in the NE corner. Along with Jessie and James G, they also continued to excavate the feature.
Andy, Elliot, James and Chris continued to excavate in the south of trench B. Sue also cleaned the feature that she had been digging with Flora.
We want to say a special thank you to Ski who has provided us with some lovely Somerset cider.
Thursday got off to a subdued start because Bill has had to return home unexpectedly. We’ll miss Bill’s sieving, sense of humour and keen eye for a latte shop.
Excavation continued apace in Trench B. James G, Kimberley and Ollie began excavating a second slot across what we hope is the line of the holloway. This was hard, hot work but we removed a grey deposit to find a number of other contexts below. Hopefully these will turn out to be ditch or holloway fills….
In the centre of the trench Andy and Jess dug what is probably going to be a large pit. It is so far findless but the fills contain above normal (for this site) amounts of charcoal.
Flora and Sue continued to excavate and record another shallow pit. This has produced some large bits of medieval pottery,
In Trench A Lucy, Hayley, Elliot and Mary began to resolve a dark patch first identified by Pete last week.
Home, in a state of near exhaustion, for a nice chilli prepared by The Saint (James SA) and Chris. The evening was rounded off by a relaxed visit to the Mason’s Arms.
Today was another hot and busy day on site.
Lucy and Hayley planned and recorded the stone feature in trench A.
In trench B, Chris and Kimberley also drew the plan and section for the hollow way in the NW of the trench.
Mary and Ollie began digging a slot on the NE of trench B to establish whether the hollow way continues across the trench.
Also in trench B Andy, James (G and St A), Flora and Sue investigated interesting interfaces between contexts in the south of the trench. James St A found some flint in a small pit he was digging raising the prospect of prehistoric activity nearby.
Bill did some splendid sieving and found more medieval pottery.
We started early today in the hope that we might avoid the worst of the heat. The plan sort of worked but it was 18 degrees at 8am and rose to about 26 degrees which was exhausting.
The day got off to an excellent start (!) with a portaloo fiasco. Apparently our toilet was positioned by the hire company in such a place that they can’t empty it. Here’s hoping they move it to a better spot soon.
On a more positive note work progressed well in Trench B. Kimberley, Chris, Sue and James G finally resolved the deep slot they’ve been digging for the last few days. It proved to be a large ditch or holloway with a number of fills. The lowest fill, which was dark grey, produced a large fragment of animal bone and also a small, black soapy feeling sherd that might be pre-Norman…
We also had a special visitor to site today: Woofton. Woofton is the dig mascot given by Min to her Daddy. Woofton had great fun playing on site and with the team.
Elsewhere in Trench B pretty much the entire team continued to excavate a thick layer which is producing medieval pottery. In the hot dry conditions finds recovery was aided by Bill and James SA’s meticulous sieving. What’s under this layer remains something of a mystery that has Andy and James scratching their heads.
Over in Trench A Hayley and Flora spent the day excavating the stoney feature (almost certainly a recent field drain) and drawing sections.
Late in the day Bill did a run to the supermarket for some icecreams, which were desperately needed by the digging team. Food tonight was excellent fajitas served up in exemplary style by Lucy and Ollie.
Week two began with us bailing and sponging the two trenches after rain over the weekend. We also took the opportunity to scrape back and photograph Trenches A and B.
In Trench A, Lucy and Hayley were joined by Mary and Sue who are members of SSARG.
Trench B was a hive of activity. Chris, Jessie, James G and Ollie continued to excavate the complex feature in the NW of trench B. This feature became even more complex when Chris and Ollie uncovered a ceramic field drain which appears to have been placed without a cut being visible in the trench section.
The rest of the team in Trench B cut another slot trying to clarify the stratigraphic sequence.
Meanwhile at camp, Bill was witnessed chasing a springer spaniel who had decided to liberate some bread rolls.
A special thanks to our neighbours, who have provided us with some homemade wine.