Saturday, 15 August 2009

Day 13: 15/08/09

At Green of Invermay...
After being rained off after lunch yesterday, Tessa and I braved the drizzle at the hillfort this morning to inspect the potential swimming pool situation. Thankfully our well draining soil and sturdy trench edges had preserved all the important archaeological discoveries we had made.

While Tessa started the excavation of the upper ditch fill I mattocked away to bring the whole trench down to the sondage level. While doing this, I quickly discovered that I am turning into my gran. Muttering almost constantly about my aching back and sore knees, I persevered, in a context almost devoid of finds - except the discovery of a nice little flint with bifacial retouch on one edge.

Meanwhile Tessa was churning out the finds – 910 being a veritable treasure trove of pottery; mainly white gritty ware and a few token pieces of green glaze. Lorraine and Jeremy came over to tell us that there was too much laughter coming from our trench (in between muttering about aches and pains) and were quickly roped in to recording all of Tessa’s finds.

The interpretation of all this Medieval pottery? There have been some serious medieval shenanigans going on in our ditch – more on that later….

Before lunch we received a visit from the students on their tour of the sites and after lunch Sara joined our ‘cool digging gang’.

The weather cleared up nicely in the afternoon and after a successful day we packed up and cleared off. A nice end to my last day at the hill-fort, tomorrow, much to Tessa’s disgust, I am off to do survey.

And finally…..we learnt a valuable lesson today; image files cannot be turned into musicals.

Goodbye and Goodnight!


Meanwhile at the henge ditch...

After losing this morning to torrential rain, a few intrepid diggers made our way to site early (mainly due to not being bothered going to see the Dupplin Cross again). Rebecca and I in the henge ditch section worked like dogs, updating the day-book with all our wonderful contexts (we have no idea what is going on with them, but they’re pretty), and finding our beautiful ditch re-cut along the whole 5m length of the section. Our wonderful directors had a lovely time getting to dig for the first time this year, but soon abandoned any attempt when a second context appeared, and it all became a bit complicated.

Once we got Alex and Lauren back after lunch the work really picked up.

We have now planned the burnt layer in the ditch we were excavating to and will ‘whack it out’ (KB, pers. Comm.) tomorrow. While sampling this layer, there was a reappearance of Arnold (regular blog followers will know who I mean); hardcore as ever, we had to move him from our trench for the sake of our tools.

The rest of the trench could have disappeared today, and to be honest the four of us in the henge ditch probably wouldn’t have noticed. I hear all was well, however…

Now we are off for a wee relax before the hoards descend tomorrow for the best open day ever*….


*our lawyers inform me we cannot guarantee best open day ever...

And at the cemetery trench...

The torrential rain continued for most of last night and into the morning hours. We normally leave for site at just before 9am, but it isn’t a good idea to be traipsing around in the slippy mud on an archaeological site. So, we held off for a few hours before starting work. We headed to the workroom where Ewan debriefed the students on our current finds. Then there was a tour to see the Dupplin Cross (one of my favourites – you can see King David’s fingers as he plays the harp! An amazing sculpture of the 9th century), which currently resides in St Serf’s in Dunning. The students were also given a tour of all the dig sites in preparation for tomorrow’s Open Day when they will be providing site tours. I didn’t go on the trip, however. The rain was light enough and I needed some ‘alone time’ with my trench and the round barrow area. The minibus dropped me off and I spent the morning planning and photographing the new features emerging around the Pictish round barrow grave.

The students and Ewan arrived at about lunchtime and the rain was gone, so we went to work cleaning off areas J&K to help us define the barrow ditch more clearly. In the process of cleaning the barrow area over the past few days, we’ve revealed at least two dug graves with either stony fills or possibly stone packing for some sort of marker. One of these, the possible ‘post hole’ Clark was digging yesterday, looks like it cuts the barrow ditch, which means it is later than the round barrow. A few more postholes have also emerged in the round barrow area both inside and outside the barrow. Things are starting to look really interesting!

Over in the interior of the square enclosure ditch, more revelations have occurred. It looks like our postholes here are actually part of a building. The building looks like a roundhouse, which works well the suspected later Iron Age date of the square enclosure. We still need to find some good secure dating evidence in our enclosure ditch and the post-holes, though. We have quite a few pieces of nice pottery of probably Roman Iron Age date, now, coming from areas disturbed by medieval and later ploughing.

The team today worked very hard – braving some extremely gusty winds. There was some good banter today and even some singing (thankfully not by me) and some rapping (of a sort) provided by Jamie. We do have one tragedy to report – our trusty site tent is on its last legs and we are not sure if it will last the night.


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