On Monday we started the 3rd week of our 6week dig. Thanks to the efforts of the volunteers and students we are bang on schedule having investigated and recorded most of the features in the north-western half of the trench. Our ‘cunning plan’ of getting diggers to complete their own section drawings and context sheets has proved partially successful in keeping the written and drawn records turning over, whilst also giving some diggers their first taste of the recording that accompanies every context. Hopefully this will pay dividends in the future as more people are able to to undertake these tasks not only at Bridge Farm but on other excavations as well. It also has the added bonus of helping diggers to understand more precisely how they need to excavate a feature in order to record it to the required level, apart from providing a bit of a break from digging in 28 degrees.
Over the last week 2 large pits have been quartered producing lots of pottery sherds but, unlike last year, little tile. The mystery of where our main ditch splits into 2 has been further explored and detailed and 2 other ditches have miraculously appeared out of the weathered ground.
But it is the finds tent that has really been the place to be (apart form the stuffy heat that is) with a wide variety of pot fabrics and forms issuing from the trench. Amongst the most intriguing are 3 more sherds with pre-fired manufactured holes in them. Whilst they look like pot bases, some could be pot lids and one has lots of small piercings and looks very like some form of strainer (perhaps Asterix did bring tea to Britain after all?). But why do we have a group of them, albeit of differing types? This is something we have not seen before on Bridge or Culver Farms, or I believe at Barcombe villa or bathhouse (I stand to be corrected on this last point; David, Chris, Jan, Maria?). We will be trying to find out more about these sherds in the coming days/weeks and will keep you posted.
Other pot fragments include a large broken jar from the bottom of the main ditch which was lifted intact with earth for closer inspection. We have also had a fair amount of slag which we believe may be ‘forging slag’ from secondary iron working which means our metal working hearth could be a small forging hearth, although this has still to be properly analyzed.
The effort now shifts to concentrate on the south-eastern half and the exciting rows of a dozen large post holes, each one of which must be half sectioned and recorded before we tackle the many smaller postholes which appear to be from a different phase of building on the same site.
Once again apologies for the excavation diary not being as regular as last year but after a hectic day on site in the July heat inspiration, concentration and enthusiasm tend to give way to intoxication and somnolence.
Still plenty to do and lots of untouched features to explore.