What a difference a day can make

Monday morning started as usual with the panic of finding suitable digging for the gathering volunteers. Fortunately all the post holes for the large building had been half sectioned, drawn (by Clara), photographed (by Stuart and Kieth) and recorded so there was plenty of space for the assembled to carefully take out the south-western halves, context by context, starting with the post-pipes. Simples!

Well that was the theory until digger after digger decided that the pipes had not been bottomed; so much for all our recording (sorry Clara). So that took care of the morning accumulating lots of environmental samples from the 100% sampling policy for these features which would keep Doctor Flot busy (aka John Kane)


Dr Flot in his sinister lab


Reverse of coin: 2 soldiers with standards


NB. David Rudling agrees with House of Constantine AD330-335 for the coin John found in the Well flot.




And so to tea and all’s well apart from voiding several section drawings and a suspicion about a similar action needed on the matching context records. Then one after the other each digger started to find chunks of water-logged timber at the base of the post-pipes; and I do mean water-logged as we were now digging below the water table once again. We were also digging below the length of some of our arms which necessitated a change of personnel with Jack, Max and Rob taking over from Barry, Franz and Jo.


Stuart getting a closer view whilst Brian is lined up as the next victim of our Director


Jack prepares for another dive down his post hole











Jack (PH8) and Max (PH11) seem to have the jagged bases of in situ posts wedged firmly at about 500mm down whilst Rob managed to extract the timber lying flat in post hole 9 (PH9) by diving head first down the postpipe (Director’s privilage) whilst we all flipped coins to see who would lose and be responsible for dragging him back out by his shorts. We were literally up (or down) to our ears in water-logged timbers. To our surprise and exhilaration what Rob pulled from the depths was no featureless chunk of rotting timber (we’ve already got some of that) but a finely carved beam end of OG design with a scrolled end and evidence of joints to other timbers plus a carved oblique rout of unknown purpose. All of which suggests something a lot more than a basic rough hewn building post; but what was it and what was it doing in the bottom of our post hole?


The carved timber extracted from the bottom of a post hole

The other 2 post bases (if that’s what they are) are still to be removed and it could well be that PH10 will bring fourth something similar (not to mention PHs 1-7 and 12). Week 6 is going to be very busy with posthole excavation, small finding, enviro sampling, revising section drawings and context forms, not to mention timber artifact drawing and conservation.


The base of half of the post excavated from PH11 by Max with A4 Field Book for scale


A view down PH 11 with a post base in 2 halves

Well as Rob said ‘at least it wasn’t Friday afternoon’. Take the words ‘fate’ and ‘tempting’ and arrange into a well known phrase or saying!!!

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