Another overcast sky greeted us as we prepared for day three. By the time we got to site a little after 8.30 a.m. the clouds were drifting through the trees that skirt the edge of the field. Still, it was better than rain.
That said, it had rained again during the night which meant that the ground had become rather sticky underfoot. Despite this the team in trench seven got to work on cleaning of some of the clay which was still covering the surface we were looking for. The clay layer we were removing was still giving us the occasional surprise. We continued to find small pieces od Neolithic pottery, and one patch looked really promising for next week as there were several pieces of flint and pottery coming to the surface.
Elsewhere on the site, members of the team were continuing to lay out the grid around both of the trenches. This is a great opportunity for students to learn about some of the technology that archaeologists use everyday. The students were in the capable hands of Dr Irene Garcia Rovira, who amongst many roles she has, is an associate director of the project. She takes them through each of the steps involved in using what is know as a total station. This machine helps us to measure distance, heights and angles that allow us to create accurate plans of the site and the trenches. Once we begin finding more artefacts we will use it to make a 3D model of where they were all found.
It was a long, hard day in the field, and as you can see here by the state of a wheelbarrow wheel. While they are on the excavation the students are gaining valuable work experience. This can range from helping prepare the food for the whole team (something all the students do) to learning about Health & Safety. In the case of the wheelbarrow, they learn it is important to keep it clean and relatively free of mud to reduce the risk of slipping when it is full.
For most of the students it is their first time on an excavation and so they have a lot to learn, particularly about how to excavate and use tools. All of the supervisors take the time to introduce the students to how to excavate. This includes how to use a trowel and other hand tools, as well as paying attention to what you are excavating. Not an easy thing to do when you are new to it.
There were some bright spots for us. In the image here you can see that we have covered a small area which has some artefacts in it. There were some great artefacts found too, including two Neolithic arrowheads. How do we know thy are Neolithic? Well we can tell by their size and shape. They are what archaeologists call leaf-shaped arrowheads, because, well they are shaped like leaves! Once they have been processed by the team, well have pictures for you in our next blog.