Field Notes – week 9

26 Aug

Week Nine

Corn height: suspicion that the addition of cobs have made the corn appear taller, when in fact it is all still the same height as last week

It has been a brilliant and busy week at the field school – it’s hard to believe that this time next week it’ll be over for the season! The atmosphere on site has been really enjoyable this week. We have had nearly fifteen additional people around – staff and students from MMU – which has added to the bustling nature of the trenches.

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Students from Manchester Met joining in the fun.

 For much of the week they were actually on the other side of the hedge, separate from where we typically work on our field school. They do have a lovely view… however we have a bigger kettle. Priorities. That being said, by the end of the week they had joined us in Trench I (and I suspect next week they may be over in Trench L for a little bit too). The lure of a good cuppa, I do say.

This week, in the cemetery we split into three different groups before coming all back together at the end of the week. We had two groups of students finishing up two burials – both juveniles, while another group of students got to work excavating an area in the southwest of the cemetery that we hope to bring lower (so that we can get a real sense of the archaeology across this part of the site).

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Starting to take down the south west corner of the cemetary

 The excavation and recording and lifting of the articulated burials went really well. I really enjoy seeing students working on this type of excavation, as it is quite a unique experience and it provides so many opportunities for discussions on related topics. These particular burials may actually be the last that we excavate this season, as we have many other things to wrap up before the end of next week.

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Probably one of the last excavations by our students this year. This is the north side of the cemetary and is next to where the 2 sub adults were excavated.

In the southwest area of the cemetery our group of students were joined by MMU, excavating in the area above the charnel ‘pit’ that we sectioned a few weeks ago. This task required a lot of patience, as it was more traditional trowelling, but there was quite a lot of bone (animal and human) and other material (tiles, rocks, etc) encountered along the entire way. The students worked through two 5m x 5m grid areas (although not all of it is exposed), bringing areas that are currently higher down to meet the lower areas. We will hopefully be able to continue with this next week, as it would be very good to see the full stratigraphy of the area around the charnel ‘pit’ before the end of the season. Not only would this allow us to record everything related to the section through the charnel, but it would also help to inform which direction to take the excavations when the site opens again next year.

 

All of this being said, it wasn’t all sunshine and skeletons on site… we did quite a lot of washing, and more than a little bailing, as it was our wettest week on site. We still can’t really complain though, as we didn’t have to suffer it for long. I suspect it may be wet again next week, but it would be lovely if we ended on a sunny note.

Although, it’s not really the end. While our field school may be wrapping up, the first two weeks of September on site will be just as busy – if not busier – as LJMU heads out with their students to conduct their own field school. I’m looking forward to meeting them all, even if I’ll be busy finishing up my paperwork, writing up a report, and ensuring all of the skeletons from this summer are ready to send off for analysis.

I had best bring this blogpost to an end. It may be week ten next week, however I have a feeling you may get a cheeky week eleven and twelve, as I’ll still be taking field notes!

Ta,

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