Saturday, 4 July 2015

Week 1 done

What a week. Including the hottest July day on record!

The undergraduate and work experience students worked unbelievably hard, in very difficult conditions, to remove all the remaining backfill from the trench. When we arrived on Sunday it was a mess of soil and terram matting; with hard work with shovels, mattocks, and wheelbarrows, all that soil was dug out and trundled to the top of the mountain of spoil. In an incredible three days we had some beautifully clean archaeological surfaces on which to start work. We were really impressed by their hard work in baking sun.

Work just beginning on Sunday morning (in wonderfully cool and damp conditions)

The trench at the end of Tuesday as temperatures hit around 30ÂșC

With the backfill and terram removed, we could finally start work on the archaeology. We have begun excavating a second slot down through the layers of the main road through the town, working hard at removing the highly compact cobbles, flints, and pieces of ceramic building material packed in to create the tough surfaces. We have also been removing more of the fill of the three mid-Roman ditches that run along the northern baulk of the site. We've had a hunt backwards into somewhat more recent history as well, removing some of the backfill of several trenches dug by Professor Frere in the 1960s, always recognisable from the fragments of clay pipe! 

Training has focused in these initial days on troweling and surface cleaning techniques, the context excavation and recording system, and plan and section drawing. Finds washing and processing has also begun, and yesterday we gave our first "Find of the Day" prizes, for two lovely Colchester brooch fragments, including the spring and pin from one in excellent condition. Pictures to come! 

We're promised slightly cooler temperatures this week, so will press on downwards! Stay tuned for more updates and pictures. 

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