Random Quote

“What would you do if there were no God? Would you commit robbery, rape, and murder, or would you continue being a good and moral person? Either way the question is a debate stopper. If the answer is that you would soon turn to robbery, rape, or murder, then this is a moral indictment of your character, indicating you are not to be trusted because if, for any reason, you were to turn away from your belief in God, your true immoral nature would emerge. If the answer is that you would continue being good and moral, then apparently you can be good without God.”
by Michael Shermer

Fourth day in Church field – Easter Monday, 25th April 2011

On-site: Tony Driscoll, Mervyn Evans, Ernie Ford, Greg Ford, Keeley Hale, Ruth Halliwell, Nigel Harper-Scott, Chris Hobbs, Christl Squires; Afternoon: Mary Wood; Lunchtime (only): Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews.

Weather; Sunny with a clear blue sky and cool breeze

Planning and digging are the order for this morning’s work; after dampening down the site with the hose. Ruth and Tony will plan the northern half of the trench, including the newly labelled context (6), which seems to be more clay-like than topsoil and could possibly be associated with (5). Chris, Ernie, Mervyn and Nigel will work on removing the remaining top-soil (beginning with some very careful mattocking). Keeley, after updating our paperwork, volunteered to sieve the mattocked loose.

Again more of the same material; ceramic, metalwork and bone are coming out of the southern part of the trench beyond (3). As suspected they were soon coming to a clay layer with gravelly inclusions (7) and mattocks were abandoned for trowels, however, it was becoming evident that a distinct line of flint pebbles were becoming uncovered within (7); stretching from the south west corner of the trench to the east travelling at a slight northward angle. This line of flint has become more pronounced as trowelling continued; a definite new feature.

At lunchtime we had a visit from our site director; Keith, who had a look over the site and some of the finds. Keith’s preliminary sift through our finds suggests a lot of 17th to 19th century wares with a few possible pieces of medieval ceramic. One sherd was hesitantly suggested as possibly Romano-British, however, if this is the case it does not confirm that we have a Roman feature below the current contexts. He also stated that the industrial waste that we have been collecting was different to that previously found in the field. Keith also suggested that we dig a test pit of 1m x 1m to observe and record the stratigraphy and get an idea of the possible layers and level we may face before we reach our possible Roman feature.

After lunch, I have asked my trowelling team to pass over the southern end of the trench to tidy up areas where the earlier dampening had caused the soil to become sticky and thus left a rough, untidy surface after the first pass of trowelling. This should then make it ready to be recorded. Ruth and Tony are digging up (4), which we now believe to be a thin, transitory layer of gravelly soil sitting above (5), further strengthening the belief that (5) and (6) maybe the same.

The decision has been made to dig a section across (2) and plan it before removing the rest of the context. A similar method will be done for (3) when time and opportunity permits next weekend. For now, Keeley is dealing with the excavation and section work for (2).By 3:00pm (7) was revealed and I moved the team to take over from Ruth and Tony, so that they could finish the new plan of the trench.

By 4:00pm Keeley had finished excavating the section of (2) and Ruth and Tony had completed the plan of the trench. Levels still need to be taken for the southern half of the trench and the section drawing to be started for (2), these will have to be completed Friday morning when we return to the site. Work will also continue in clearing away (4).

The sectioned area of (2) has produced a lot of ceramic as well as other materials, in the unsectioned area of (2) there is a base of what looks to be an “oval-shaped” bottle showing; we can only hope that it is complete, this will be removed in time. There has been less material extracted today than in previous days, however, the character of the finds continues to be similar to previous days. There have been no new small finds.

Filed under: Fieldwork, Norton Church Field Dig 2011

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