We had another day of brilliant weather on site, providing great conditions for the team as the recording and final stages of excavation ramp up!
In terms of excavations: Hayley and Ellie put a slot in the southern-most feature in the trench; James, Andy, Tilly and Zara removed the section from (007) finding yet more pottery. Meanwhile, slightly further south Samara continued to excavate her ditch, finding today’s star find – a fragment of what might be a clay loom weight.
Further north on the recording front: Chris, Douglas, Holly-Ann and James H were tasked with drawing 30m sections of the limit of excavation (LoE). The section was the largest any of them had every recorded, but luckily we had help from Woofton!
Had visits from Matt, a Newcastle University student and members of the Yeovil Archaeological and Local History Society: Brian and Moira.
It may seem like we’re wrapping things up already, but there’s still much to be done on site before the week’s end!
We found it hard to believe that we had been rained off site just last week with the brilliant conditions today – not a cloud in the sky!
It was a busy day on site, with many features being worked on and many visitors to site. Our first arrival was a local prospective V400 (BA Archaeology) student, Hugh, who came to get a taste of what an archaeological site is like.
We also had a visit from a local landowner Robert Unwin – whose land we excavated in throughout the 2012 and 2013 seasons, as well as James’ friends Nick and Suzie.
We made great progress on site with both the northern and southern ditches of the trackway being fully excavated. The southern ditch gave us our star find of the day, found by Douglas, a single BB1 body sherd – allowing us to roughly date the context. Meanwhile Chris and Holly-Ann removed a layer at the northern end of the finding pottery and burnt flint.
Samara and Zara began excavating a feature at the southern end of the trench finding some large pieces of worked flint, animal bone and BB1 sherds. Tilly, Josh, Elliott and Andy worked on the second slot in (007) finding a huge amounts of BB1, flints and vitrified ash.
All-on-all today has been a good start to the final week of excavations.
Due to the poor weather forecast for this morning the team had a late start, we reconvened at noon to assess the situation. After a brief visit to site, James and Andy gathered the team and headed over.
Many of the features that are in the process of being excavated were too wet to continue with. We therefore took advantage of the moist conditions to trowel back the surface of the trench to find any features that may not have been visible under normal conditions. After the team had finished it was apparent that several new features were visible, success!
We broke for a tea break, during which James and Andy called an end to the day early due to worsening conditions onsite. Despite a short day we’ve made the best of a bad situation. With a promising forecast for tomorrow we will be back for a full day onsite before next week.
This morning we gathered in the grain barn, many of us with grim looks on our faces due to drizzle.
James began the day by talking to the team about what we’d accomplished on site, in relation to the project research questions. He asked the students what they thought of the site, and their interpretation. James then explained his current interpretation of the excavated area, why we had less finds than anticipated and what the finds we do have mean in relation to the site. Reinvigorated by a greater understanding of the archaeology and the project, the team piled into the minibus not deterred by the weather.
We arrived on site and returned to our features from yesterday: James H, Chris, Holly-Ann and Sue cleaned and prepped the two Northern-most ditches for photographs and recording. Meanwhile Hayley, Tilly and Samara drew the section for the Post-Medieval ditch.
When we broke for our first tea break it was apparent the weather had continued to decline throughout the morning, James and Andy decided to stop the work on site until the weather improved. All-in-all despite the mud and the rain the team were in incredibly high spirits, filthy from head-to-toe we returned to our grain barn to dry off.
We will return to site tomorrow and crack on!
Today started much like yesterday had finished – arriving on site we returned to the features we were working on yesterday.
Hayley and Josh finished their feature (a ditch that might define one side of a trackway visible on the geophysics) and prepped it for photographing, Zara and Ellie joined in when the section and plan was drawn. James H and Holly-Ann finished removing the layer at the northern end of the trench, the area was then trowelled back to reveal any underlying features. Meanwhile Holly-Ann moved to help Chris in excavating a ditch further north – hoping to gain more dating evidence for the feature.
After finding the impressive Millstone yesterday Ellie and Zara pressed on and continued to excavate Andy’s ditch. Elliot and James H were then tasked with removing the fill from a ditch that is part of the many complex stratigraphic features at the Northern end of the trench.
The afternoon saw some finds being unearthed, Brian found a piece of worked flint. Having moved to a feature revealed in yesterdays trowelling, Hayley and Josh found some bone, flint and pottery after chipping away only a few centimetres of the fill. The slot of the Post-Medieval ditch Douglas and Sue were working on had been finished, and, with Andy’s guidance, they filled in the paperwork for the feature.
Today seemed to take a lot out of the team, I think we’re due an early night in anticipation for a hard day tomorrow. It would seem our luck may have run out with rain forecast for tomorrow but we can handle it!
We began the day on site as we had yesterday, only with a slight hitch before breakfast. The incredibly strong winds overnight had caused our marquee to buckle under the strain, meaning we again had attempt a salvage mission. We decided to take the marquee down for the day as the weather was only due to get worse. Maggie and Colin again proved to be the greatest of hosts by offering the use of their kitchen to ensure we were all fed and prepared for what was to be a long and blustery day on site, as well as the use of one of their barns whilst the worst of the weather passed!
When we arrived on site, we found our Army tent still standing strong. With our equipment gathered we set out to trowel back the remaining section of the trench, to reveal the remaining features on site. One area at the Southern end of the trench was of particular interest, as it had provided some pottery sherds when the original top-soil and sub-soil had been removed. When this area was trowelled back several black burnished body sherds were found by James and James H. With the remainder of the trench trowelled several potential features were revealed.
Regrouping for morning break the team then split off to new features or continued to excavate features started yesterday. James H drew a plan and section of his feature and finalised the paperwork, as did Hayley, Samara and Josh. Holly-Ann, Tilly and James continued the gargantuan task of removing the layer at the Northern end of the trench to find any features hidden below, whilst Douglas and Sue continued excavating the Post-Medieval feature they began yesterday.
Hayley and Josh then began excavating the Southern side of the Northern trackway, making great progress. By mid-afternoon Ellie and Zara had finished excavating a feature with a natural sandstone base, they were then tasked with removing the section in Andy’s trench – in the hopes of finding more dating evidence. After the first few scrapes of the trowel they unearthed the first Small Find of this year’s excavation – the below fragmentary Millstone.
Thus marking a brilliant end to a day that had started so badly.
Today marked the first day on site for the new students, which started with the basics and a safety briefing before beginning a mass trowelling of the site. Shortly after, Sue and Brian, volunteers from SSARG arrived on site and joined in trowelling – meanwhile at the northern end of the site Hayley and James finished planning a feature.
Chris and Hayley had continued working on their features from last week, finding a fragment of a hypocaust flu tile. It is most likely to have come from the Villa, and is likely akin to the tile given to us by a neighbour last week.
After morning break the students and volunteers were assigned to features that had been revealed during trowelling, some sherds of pottery were found throughout the day – a highlight being a fragment of medieval green glazed pottery found by James H. Samara, Tilly and Holly-Ann took on the mammoth task of removing a large layer in the northern end of the trench, whilst Chris and Josh continued to remove slot from a ditch started on Friday.
The new starters arrived back at camp in high spirits, but they’ll be aching in the morning!
Taking into account the lost hour of sleep we allowed ourselves a later start to the day. After gathering in the marquee James and Andy led the team to site, braving the changing weather conditions, whilst trying not to disturb the marathon runners. James discussed the progress of the excavation so far, and crucially putting the site into its context within the wider landscape.
Later in the day the team went to Yeovil to explore the town and get any extra supplies needed for the next two weeks. We returned to camp to our heavily storm-proofed marquee – in anticipation of tomorrow on site.
Everyone arrived on site feeling refreshed after well needed early night, ready to take on the day.
James H finished removing the fill of his ditch and prepped it to be photographed, after a plan and section drawing were completed – making this ditch the first finished feature of our site!
Meanwhile Chris, Hayley and James continued to excavate their feature throughout the day, discovering that it continued to grow in complexity with each scrape of the trowel.
We also received a visit from the students of Preston Secondary School. Andy showed them around the site, explaining what we are doing and why.
After the visit, Andy continued to work on a feature he had begun excavating earlier this week, expanding his section and discovering more stakeholes, in what we believe to be the feature enclosing the Roman site.
To their dismay Chris and James H were then tasked with excavating a section of what we think is a large ditch that cuts across the trench North East, South West – a couple of sherds of pottery and pieces of flint were found.
And that draws an end to an excellent week! With reinforcements arriving tomorrow we hope the next couple of weeks will be just as productive. With that it’s time for some food and a couple of well-earned drinks!
After heavy showers last night we expected the site to be soaked through when we arrived, however there were only a couple of small puddles to be mopped up. We took to other duties whilst we waited for the site to dry out: finishing the grid co-ordinates, organising the paperwork and established a Temporary Bench Mark on site.
We then took advantage of the moist conditions to trowel back a 20m x 5m section of the trench to reveal more features in the northern end of trench. There seems to be multiple features present in the changing colours of clay.
A brief diversion mid-day was a close fly-past by a flight of Merlin helicopters from RNAS Yeovilton.
We then continued to excavate our features from yesterday. Chris and Hayley found pottery dating from the 4th century in their feature, whilst James H found pottery dating from the Late Iron Age to the Early Roman Period in his. The day finished with a team discussion regarding the sequence of our excavated features, it’s complicated but we will not be beaten!