Field Notes – Prep week

22 Jun

Corn height: talus/ fibula lateral malleolous (ankle)

Welcome to the very first Poulton Project field school weekly updates – a sort of summary of some field notes. While the students don’t arrive until tomorrow, we’ve been very busy on site already getting everything ready. Kevin and Mike are old hat at this by now, but I’m new to the Poulton Project – so in addition to helping get ready for next week I’ve also been swotting up on the site, especially the cemetery.


Apart from being historically and archaeologically fascinating, the site itself is stunning. I have very much enjoyed watching the swallows soaring over the fields and then swooping up into the eaves of the roundhouse where they are nesting.

This past week has seen some beautiful weather. There’s not been a spot of rain on site and most afternoons have been blazing sunshine. Yet, strangely enough, much of my time on site has thus far involved a lot of water.


The first job was to uncover the area to be excavated this year, which meant pulling back tarps, ground sheets, and covers. In the process I got to put some of my favourite life skills to good use – rescuing small critters like frogs, toads, newts, and more. While our trenches may make lovely homes in the off season, I’m not sure they’d welcome a group of students with open… arms? limbs? webbed appendages? Thankfully there’s a perfect spot for them just nearby

After the trenches were uncovered, the water that had collected from the last lot of rain a few weeks before had to be bailed out. Once they had dried up a bit, we were able to get to work on tidying them up. However, in order to do this, because it’s been so warm and dry this week, I’ve had to water the soil down in order to excavate the top layers. I didn’t think I’d be walking around on-site with a watering can when I started, given the typical British summer, but I’m not complaining!

I’ve also spent a lot of time doing some jobs that, while not necessarily the most glamorous, are absolutely necessary. There has been a lot of weeding, a little bit of finds transporting, a good deal of clearing back sediments, an enormous amount of brushing up little rabbit pellets, and even a spot of mug washing. It is all worth it though as this year’s area for excavation looks mighty appealing now.

Good thing too, as we’ve got a full complement of students for our first week. I do hope they are as excited as I am. It will be great to meet everyone tomorrow morning and then begin this year’s excavations in earnest. In addition to all of the archaeology training and excavation experience, there are also a whole heap of additional activities to give everyone an enjoyable and intensive week (or weeks) on site.*

I’ll be back with another update next week, but if you can’t wait until then – then do check out the hashtag #PoultonProject on Twitter, which I’ll be using when I get a chance to tweet from site throughout the week.

Ta for now,



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