The Newcastle Digging Team 2014

Seeing as it has come to the end of our excavations it seems appropriate to report what have been highlights for our student digging team.


“I enjoyed the responsibility of being a supervisor over the last 3weeks the close connection between the uni digging team and SSARG members. I also really living with the numerous cats on the camp site”.

James SA
1st Year
“Working as part of a great team, deepening my archaeological knowledge and eating outdoors for 3 weeks”.

1st year
“I enjoyed shovelling, local ale particularly at The Masons Arms. Another highlight was the sumo wrestling with Janes SA at the pub.”

1st Year
“It was nice to have the opportunity to do other activities on site such as taking levels. I really enjoyed being part of a small team as well”.

1st Year
“It was nice to break up the digging by going on trips to places like Lullworth Cove. I also enjoyed seeing the archaeological process from beginning to end. It was lovely to see some kittens at the cattery on our campsite”.

1st Year
“I loved meeting some of the local characters. It was a good experience learning to dig and plan features”.

1st Year
“I enjoyed the challenged of excavating a complex archaeological site and of course winning the open mic night at The Mason’s arms in Lower Odcombe”.

1st Year
“I thought the entire dig was a really good experience and it was great to be part of a really friendly team”.

2nd year
“I really enjoyed working on this site with a fantastic bunch of people and keeping people up to date with what we are doing on site via the blog”.

The End is in Site

Yesterday was our last day on site. We began by troweling back all of tench B ready for an end of dig photo.


After photos were taken of the trench and the team, with the help of Ski, we began backfilling the large slots in both trenches

When we had finished and packed up all the kit we returned to our usual haunt at the Masons Arms for a post dig celebration.

Today has been relaxed, we breakfasted in Yeovil and have spent the day packing up the campsite.



Week 3 Wednesday

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.

Week 3 – Monday

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.

An Evening with Dr James Gerrard

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.

Week 2 – Friday!

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.

Week 2 – Day 3

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.

Week 2

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.

The End of our First Week

Bill, Pete and Hayley investigated the stone feature in Trench A and discovered it was most likely a land drain and probably modern.

There was lots of activity in Trench B today.

Kimberly, Chris, James G and Ollie continued to excavate an interesting feature in the north west corner of Trench B. They moved a large amount of earth to reach a blueish grey context which could be the fill of a hollow way. This area produced a large amount of medieval pottery including green glazed sherds.


Also in Trench B, Andy, James SA and Elliot continued to excavate a slot running through a large feature. Having removed a context, which produced medieval pottery and iron slag they then recorded the underlying deposit and took some levels.


A journalist from the Western Gazette also turned up to take photos of the site and the team.

We returned home to a lovely carbonara prepared by Flora and Jess.

Tonight we will be sampling some Somerset cider in the Mason’s Arms, Odcombe

Day 3 on Site

This morning Andy and Ollie spent some time establishing a temporary bench mark (TBM) by traversing across the landscape from a datum which tells us height above see level. A TBM is used to work out the height above sea level of features and artefacts when using a level and is a really important part of the recording process.


The work in trench A began with Lucy, Flora and Hayley drawing a section. Later Pete and Bill scraped back exposing an interesting feature in the south eastern corner. In Trench B Chris and Kimberly used the magnetic susceptibility meter.

After lunch the team continued to straighten the trench edge, expose the interesting stone feature and excavate a slot across one of our features, this produced a number of medieval sherds. Another find was a seal matrix found by Ski, our local metal detector, near one of our trenches. More on this exciting find to follow!