Sunday began with so much promise, but we found ourselves in a familiar situation later in the day. This, notwithstanding, the star find of the excavation made it’s appearance today – but more of that later. Perhaps you might guess what it was!
As you can see in the image here, our old foe rain made another visit to the site, and what it lacked in duration it more than made up for in volume. It came down like stair rods! I even felt obliged to drive the kit van over to Trench six to rescue the team from it – I’m fairly sure they liked the ride back over the field in the dark, dank back of the van. . .
So, as you might imagine we had more bailing to do, and spent another 90mins or so getting rid of gallons of water from the ditch slots. Not quite the sort of work many of the students might have been expecting. However, we were successful and made a start on more excavating and recording after an early lunch. More time lost meant more pressure to get all the work completed before Tuesday afternoon, and the students really stepped up and knuckled down (can I say that?) to the tasks in hand.
Every excavation has a wishlist of finds, artefacts that would say the most about the site or project, they might possibly be thought of as ‘treasure’ although Neolithic treasure doesn’t take the form of gold or jewels. For archaeologists working on projects such as this, many would say that ‘treasure’ would probably take the form of polished stone axes, house floors or organic remains that can be used for radiocarbon dating. We found carbonised hazelnut shells and acorns in the first feature excavated this year. These will be radiocarbon dated, but they came from the upper layers of a small pit which contained also contained a piece of Neolithic period pottery known as ‘Peterborough Ware’ which Julian thought would have been deposited quite some time after the ditch segments were created.
As is the way, our star find emerged almost at the end of excavations. It came from a ditch segment at the western end of Trench seven. It was found by one of the Manchester students and a volunteer archaeologist – Hannah and Janey. What they found resting on the bottom of their ditch segment was part of an antler used to dig out the ditch in the early part of the Neolithic. Needless to say there was much rejoicing at this great find!