Monday, 8 July 2013

End of Dig Wrap-up Part 3: Leadketty

Leadketty: mysterious to the end! After three weeks of hard toil, and the investigation of dozens of pits, postholes and stakeholes as well as digging a ditch, palisade and two fence lines, the big questions about what was going on in and around the big earthwork enclosure and when all of this was happening remained frustratingly unresolved. Of course, we eagerly await the outcome of the post-excavation analysis of samples which should provide dating evidence and environmental context – but that means a wait of many months before we can really start to make sense of the archaeology we found. This means that in ways this was a frustrating excavation, but enlivened by a great team, some fine banter on-site, hot sauce in abundance, and some creative photography from Helen!

Jamie, day 17

The main target of the excavation was the big, putative causewayed enclosure. Ultimately, we did find part of the ditch of this monument, but it proved extremely challenging to excavate due to the nature of the subsoils, ditch fill and dry weather conditions. Nonetheless, Steve, Eva, then Scott, Chris, Jamie, Ben and Kirk were up to the challenge and mattocked the ditch into submission. Their brutal handiwork revealed a rather boring ditch, but at least we found it! By contrast, features in the rest of the trench were more easily spotted and excavated, including an amazing prehistoric fence line defined by a series of closely spaced postholes.

The palisade seemingly enclosing the causewayed enclosure

This fence line seems to be associated with the causewayed enclosure, perhaps indicating a larger enclosure encircling it, or a screen or elaborate entranceway (we identified two large possible gate posts). Some fine posthole excavating, often utilising ladles and spoons, revealed the complex and variable nature of this boundary. Amazing trowel (and spoon) work was evident all over the big trench, with plenty of small features cut into gravel and silt to keep everyone very busy. These remains suggest there were some timber structures within the causewayed enclosure, as well as at least two fence lines, but how these relate chronologically to one another remains to be seen.

As is often the case with excavation, there are more questions than answers at this stage, but none of this would have been possible without a brilliant and hard-working team who made each dry, dusty day on site a pleasurable experience!

Kenny and Dene

The LK13 team


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