Last day of digging!

Today was our last day of digging on site – and it is fair to say that there were lots of mixed feelings by the end of the afternoon.

The aim of today was to finish off the last bits of recording and excavation in both trenches and get them photo-ready.


The team in trench C at the end of a long three weeks © The Lufton Project

In trench B Cubby and Johanna mattocked out a linear feature that was uncovered in yesterday’s trowel-back after the rain. They found some flint and a little pottery before setting about planning and recording it – all before lunch!


Johanna busy recording © The Lufton Project

In trench C Lucy, James and Andy took out the second half of the Iron Age work. Lucy did some sturdy work and uncovered the rest of an Iron Age  fired-clay oven plate  similar to those found at Maiden Castle in Dorset just as Professor Niall Sharples, of Cardiff University, took some time out of his busy day of digging at Ham Hill, in conjunction with the Cambridge Archaeological Unit, to pay us all a visit. Meanwhile Pete and Dave discovered that Danni’s linear split in to two linears – just what we needed in the last day! Georgia and Andy did some surveying and helped out around site with the recording and trowelling of trench C.


James and Andy showing Prof. Sharples around site © The Lufton Project

None of us can believe that tomorrow all our hard work will disappear under tonnes of soil as we start tying up loose ends and tidying up our site…


Week 3 – Tuesday

It was bound to happen at some point during our three weeks here in Somerset: we got rained off site.

The team awoke to rain and found both trenches on site too dangerous to work on, so everyone piled back in to the minibus and headed in to Yeovil. James and Andy headed off to buy the grass seed we need for the end of the dig while the rest of the team piled in to the nearest café for a bit of R&R.


The team enjoying a mid-morning trip in to Yeovil © The Lufton Project

Once back on site in the afternoon we got stuck in sponging up all the water that had accumulated in the features and trowelled back trench B for our end-of-dig photos – our efforts were somewhat ruined by another bout of rain but everyone is still smiling!


Everyone trowelling back trench B before the rain © The Lufton Project

Let’s hope that the weather tomorrow – our last day of digging – will be in our favour!


Week 3 – Monday

After a wet weekend, the team started the last week of excavation by sponging out their features and clearing up the soaked clay that had disguised a lot of the archaeology.

In trench B Cubby inherited Lucy’s prehistoric feature – fondly known as Moby Dick because of its white, blobby appearance – while Johanna, Lucy and Andy finished excavating the Iron Age ditch at the western edge of the trench. The girls then recorded and drew the whole 15m expanse of the linear, finishing just in time for the rain! James and Andy also excavated the Roman ditch in the north-western edge of the trench and uncovered a bit of pottery.


Lucy mattocking out the bottom of the Iron Age ditch in trench B © The Lufton Project

Over in trench C Danni continued working on her linear feature, which is looking less like a beamslot… Pete and Mary have discovered that the feature extends much further north than previously thought. Meanwhile Georgia and James excavated Danni’s ditch and planned it. Dave and El excavated and planned another linear ditch that had been uncovered by the rain, and t. It looks like trench C is shaping up to be quite complicated so the team will most likely be concentrating all its efforts there before we start back-filling on Thursday.


James, Mary and Pete discussing the beam slot in trench C © The Lufton Project

Open Day

There was no rest for the wicked today – James, Andy and most of the team were on site bright and early this morning to set up for the Open Day in honour of the Festival of British Archaeology.

Cubby and Dave stayed at the camp site to clean up and prepare us a delicious dinner before James’ well received talk  at the Abbey Manor Community Centre. The team cracked on with their digging while James and Andy showed swathes of keen locals (nearly 200 we think) around the site. Members of SSARG were there to welcome visitors and give them a brief introduction to the surrounding archaeology.


James showing some members of the public around site © The Lufton Project

The whole team really enjoyed themselves and were very happy to share their experiences with the public. We would also like to extend a very big ‘Thank you’ to James for surprising us all with an incredible archaeology-themed cake made by his friend Claire Blanchard


Our delicious cake! ©The Lufton Project

Week 2 – Friday

What an incredible end to the week!

We were lucky enough to welcome the local MP for Yeovil and Minister of State for Schools, David Laws to site this morning for a tour of the trenches and for an opportunity to meet the team and handle some of our finds.


James showing the Rt Hon David Laws around site © The Lufton Project

In trench B Cubby and Dave started by recording and drawing their Roman ditch while Pete excavated a linear feature in which he found some flint. Cubby later helped him sieve the soil from his ditch in a bid to uncover more finds.

Andy, James and Johanna started excavating what they thought was the continuation of the Iron Age ditch found at the south-eastern edge of trench B and the north western edge of trench C, but it turned out to be a bit of a head-scratcher… They’ll hopefully be able to determine what it is tomorrow during the Open Day.

Over in trench C, Lucy and El finished planning the ditch and found two new linears containing some pottery.

To the south of the girls, Dave and James discovered a new linear which also contained some Black Burnished Ware and Grey Ware  while Georgia recorded and planned her  ditch in the southern edge of trench C.

Danni dug out the rest of her beam slot and discovered a complicated feature underlying it – but the real excitement of the day came five minutes before the end of the day when she discovered a copper Roman brooch pin! The whole team were over the moon and couldn’t quite believe what a great end to the week they had had.


Danni's Roman brooch pin © The Lufton Project

Time for some well-deserved drinks and barbecue!



Week 2 – Thursday

It rained heavily overnight, so the team started by trowelling back trench C in a bid to make light of the unusual features that we first saw when machine watching at the beginning of last week.


James in the northern ditch of trench C © The Lufton Project

After yesterday’s excitement, Lucy had to start drawing a section of her ditch – not before extending it to the east in an attempt to better understand its relationship to the Iron Age ditch which runs through both trenches. With El and James’ help, she found an interesting pit on the western limit of excavation and some Black Burnished Ware to the east.

Johanna dug a post hole with a post pipe in it and uncovered some sherds of pottery which will hopefully help the team understand its relationship to Danni’s post hole and beam slot, if indeed there is one.

Danni continued excavating her feature and found what she believes to be another post hole containing some more Black Burnished Ware.

Sally – our site director’s wife who was visiting for the day – excavated the second half of the charcoal-filled pit that Johanna had started last Friday and uncovered the first bone fragments of the season! Could it be a cremation pit or just a domestic fire pit?

Georgia, at the south end of the trench, dug a slot through a ditch  which runs parallel to the one she excavated last week with Danni, and found a single sherd of pottery.

Over in trench B Pete, Peter and Mary continued excavating and recording a linear of uncertain datem but later than the southern ditch. Cubby and Dave outdid Lucy’s finds from yesterday – the guys were excavating a Roman ditch, trying to follow a dog-legged linear when they came across the top of a Roman flagon with intact handle! The excitement was so much that we had to break for tea early…


Dave showing off his flagon with intact handle © The Lufton Project

Just a couple of reminders to everyone: today we got a page spread in the Western Gazette so buy yourselves a copy if you can, and please pop down to site on Saturday for our Open Day (10am-4pm) or to James’ talk in the evening if you’re interested in checking out the archaeology for yourselves.

Last but by no means least everyone would like to say a special ‘THANK YOU’ to Min, James and Sally’s 6-year old daughter, for all her hard work and help today – she was an absolute gem and a perfect little archaeologist!


Min having a go at excavating a post hole © The Lufton Project

Week 2 – Wednesday

What a day!

Trench B produced its first substantial dating evidence in Cubby and Dave’s ditch to the north-west. The guys uncovered a number of Roman Grey Ware sherds in a concentrated area of their feature and are currently trying to determine if they come from their ditch or a feature cut in to the ditch. Johanna drew the longest section to date – stretching the whole 15m of trench B. Meanwhile, El furthered her quest to find meaning in ash-filled charcoally pits, to no avail.


Mary from SSARG recording a ditch © The Lufton Project

Pete discovered that the gully that he was excavating was earlier than the southern ditch whilst Mary and Peter worked with Andy digging in the western end of trench B.

Cubby and Pete also had a go at sieving clay which is almost as  much fun as sieving clay with finds in!


Cubby sieving some clay © The Lufton Project

Over in trench C, the team tried to get started on some new features but were defeated by the baked clay and spent the day recording yesterday’s archaeology and drawing a section across the southern ditch which had been excavated earlier.

Lucy and James finished excavating their ditch in the northern end of trench C and removed large pots (at least 2 vessels) and found one of them to be perforated like yesterday’s finds, reinforcing the assumption that there might have been cheese or beer production in the settlement.


Lucy and James' Iron Age pot © The Lufton Project


Week 2 – Tuesday

It finally rained last night!

The team started off by trowelling back the whole of trench B in order to uncover any features lost in the baked clay, and for Andy to take a site photo. Everyone got stuck in and got the whole thing cleared up in a couple of hours…


The team trowelling back first thing this morning ©The Lufton Project

After a well-deserved tea break, it was back to the archaeology – Georgia and Johanna finished off their Iron Age ditch and had to adopt some interesting excavating techniques to clear up the edges…El kept digging her ashy feature and did some recording with Pete, whilst Cubby and Dave got started on another modern ditch.


Georgia adopting the 'Johanna' way of excavating© The Lufton Project

Over in trench C, Danni found a post hole at the end of what we now think is a beam slot! Lucy and James finished digging their feature and found five more big sherds of pottery in the section. Much to Lucy’s dismay she had to record the whole feature before being able to remove the sherds tomorrow.


Danni's beam slot and post hole to the south of trench C ©The Lufton Project

Week 2 – Monday

Week 2 got off to a great start as the team powered ahead in both trenches. The weather was a bit cooler which made everyone happy!


It's not all hard work on site! © The Lufton Project

Cubby and Dave explored a ditch with no dating evidence as of yet while El investigated some post holes and an ash-filled pit. Georgia and Johanna started on the Iron Age ditch to the south of trench B – which runs through to trench C – and recovered some flint and pottery.

Meanwhile, over in trench C, Lucy continued excavating her complicated Iron Age ditch with James our new volunteer. They uncovered  a piece of Black Burnished Ware jar which James G dated to the 1st century AD (An Exeter Type 12.3 to be exact). Its perforated base might suggest the production of cheese or beer. Danni started on a new linear features in which she found a Roman pie dish rim and some Iron Age pottery.


Lucy and her big piece of Black Burnished Ware © The Lufton Project

There was also lots of recording going on today. The more we dig the more paperwork is generated!

Can’t wait to see what this week brings!

The Weekend

We spent Saturday having something of a lazy day. Lucy, Georgia and Danni headed off to Salisbury to take a look at the museum and everyone else spent the day washing their socks.

On Sunday we headed down to Dorchester in Dorset to look at Maumbury Rings, the Roman townhouse, Maiden Castle. We ended the day heading back into Somerset to have a drink at the Prince of Wales on Ham Hill. A henge, two hillforts, a Roman temple and a Roman house all in one day was enough and we sat down in the evening to an excellent risotto cooked by Dave. The cooking wasn’t this good last year!


Roman Temple on Maiden Castle © The Lufton Project


The Team at Maumbury Rings © The Lufton Project