Today we have reports from the cemetery and henge excavations and the walkover survey high in the hills...
I was quite looking forward to working in the rain as I had remembered my rain resistant trousers for the first time and was dying to try them out. I started where I left off yesterday and set upon my little feature with my trowel, bucket and shovel, ready to un-cover more of what Meggen thought might be a possible post hole. The second swish of my trowel revealed yet another sherd of medieval pottery nice and pinky orange coloured and blackened on the interior, this makes three finds since yesterday and made me well happy having resigned myself just days ago, that charcoal was actually a great find, I’ll be finding Centurian helmets by the afternoon, then it came.
The heavens opened and never let up until it was agreed that it was foolhardy to continue and we gave in to the famously reliable Scottish weather. Meanwhile at the Neolithic site, reports were coming in that Matt had found the first piece of Neolithic pottery undoubtedly worked loose by me the last time I was up there, but all credit to the B team for finding it. Roll on tomorrow.Clark
The team of us digging the henge (Leaf, Lauren, Alex and me) made a lot of progress in the ditch section today; although the more we dig, the more confused I get about exactly what was going on there! The ditch of the henge seems to have been filled in and opened up several times across a long time period, but so far it is a bit of a challenge to try to untangle exactly what order it all happened in. As we worked away, we even came across the action-hero of the worm world, Arnold Wormenegger, who did not flinch even as we mattock away the soil round about him!
Things seem to be going well elsewhere in the trench too – Kirsty has started work on the lovely little ‘baby-henge’ to the south of the main henge; and several sherds of possibly Neolithic pottery have turned up in various places. There is even some from the henge ditch, as well as some worked quartz. I’m not sure what it says about me, but I feel that this more than makes up for spending hours in a soggy field dripping with rain.
The rain is persistent though, and gets heavier as the day goes on. By lunchtime we are all wet through, and filling in any kind of records is a lost cause, so we decide to call it a day (after eating the pies and cakes), to avoid damaging the archaeology. And so we clean off all the tools and troop back down to the minibus.
But, as if the excitement of the prehistoric pottery isn’t enough (and believe it or not, there are actually some people who do not seem impressed with the little crumbly black sherds (I do not understand these people!)), there is more drama as we get onto the minibus. Try as we may, it will not start…so we all get out into the rain again. After a quick game of ‘I spy’, we get fed up waiting for the RAC, and manage to get the bus going with a push start.
Hopefully our waterproofs will have time to dry out before tomorrow.
I was doing my second round of walkover survey today. Of course, it was bucketing down. Reckon last week’s rain dance went a bit too well!
Basically, we were going back to an area which had been surveyed in 2007, this time mapping out the features, which were mostly the old field boundaries. First of all, we took a walk around the area, getting a proper look at the features and trying to work out where they all went and how they all relate to each other. I’m finding this landscape archaeology really interesting. Excavation’s great, but there’s only so much you can see in a hole in the ground on the valley floor. This really gives you a broader impression of how people are using and re-using their landscape.
We also tried to get some sketches done and notes taken, but by this point the rain was making it impossible to do anything, so we retreated back to the van for lunch.
The afternoon was more successful, despite all of us being soaked. We took it in turns to go exploring the features and learning how to use the GPS – which looks pretty daunting at first with its satellite signals and up to 60cm accuracy and I was pretty sure I was going to break it – but actually, it was pretty simple… as long as you remember to hold it the right way. So we managed to get a lot of the boundaries mapped out on that all right, except for one bit where the signal went haywire and we ended up with a weird zig-zag halfway along one of them. Hopefully we can get that sorted with the rest of the correction process. And hopefully the weather gods of Forteviot will be a bit kinder to us when we go back up tomorrow!