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2 days forward and 3 days back

Good old British summertime; after months of the driest weather in decades July decides to go into sporadic storm mode. For the second week in a row a Tuesday night sees a period of heavy rain which left most of the deeper features full to the brim and the site unsafe to work. We therefore had the realization of not  being able to get on site until at least the next day when we could all try to clean back the same features we had got to good state during the last few days of the previous week. Just as we had the week before albeit at a somewhat higher level of site stratigraphy; that’s called progress or even archaeology!

Whilst the volunteers went to the finds hut and the second years went to the flotation unit, the first year trainees were introduced to the delights of the planning frame over a section of hard standing made from hardcore and brick-a-bract, perfect for drawing practice. All went well until a fine misty rain insinuated itself into the act and started to soak the graph paper we were using for the exercise as opposed to our precious stocks of drawing film. At least it showed why we use plastic drawing film rather than paper and why 5H pencils are really only suitable for the former! At least this completed the training programme as the planning lesson had been delayed by being scheduled for the previous wet-Wednesday. A good outcome was that nearly all the available dry residues from the floted environmental samples of both the current and previous years were sifted through for artifacts and ecofacts and then discarded to be replaced by lots of wet residues stacked up to dry from the flotation group. All the current samples went through the flotation tanks during the day so actually great progress was made.

Students at the CAP display boards

And so to Thursday after more rain. The site was still unsafe first thing although a stiff breeze and fine weather suggested that we might be back on site after lunch. If some hard-nosed commercial diggers are puzzled by this attitude try having 40 inexperienced diggers on sloppy sandy silt; it is not recommended for either safety or the preservation of the archaeology. As everyone was getting a bit stir-crazy and there was now only limited work to do in finds we decided to take the first year undergrads on a morning walking tour of the surrounding Romano-British landscape ending at the site of the Barcombe villa complex via the Culver Roman road. We also stopped at the CAP 2013 project display boards at the Barcombe Mills car park.

At lunchtime we could see the there was only limited room on site and so we decided to give the students a choice of digging or free-time and were not too disappointed when the majority chose the latter. Those of us who did go on site found the conditions quite conducive to easy troweling on the higher elements of the site.

Friday saw the massed ranks of diggers back in the trench and some good work was achieved with Herr Director back on site after a 2 day absence. But then came Friday night and from 10.30pm to about 3am we had constant rain yet again. Lets hope people like going over the same ground again and again and lets really hope for better weather for the last 2 weeks of the dig. That well still awaits us; one might even say taunts us! Still the rain shows up the stratigraphy and in moderation helps the troweling and it may be opportune that it should come at a time we have no site water-pipe due to the sweetcorn harvest; no more the maze-like walk through the rows of 2m+ crop to a hidden site, we are now exposed to the world.

 

Rob in command mode with Site Supervisor Lindsay

Workforce back on site but deeper features still flooded and the HQ building visible from site for the first time this year

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