Events Blog

Practical Archaeology Course 2006: Day Twelve

It was a beautiful sunny day today at Down Farm - which was fortunate as the whole day was devoted to excavation with no seminars or workshops planned inside. All of the students were in the middle of excavating or recording features that they had started yesterday. Some of the post-holes that were being dug were quite substantial, over 40cm deep and two of them certainly formed parts of structures, possibly a south-facing porch to a roundhouse. Another post-hole contained a rather large fragment of animal bone which was probably placed in the hole after the wooden post had been removed.

Sophie carried on excavating a circular pit which had been started by Rosemary last week and this seems to contain deliberately placed deposits, which may relate to feasting. Sophie uncovered yet more evidence for this, including large fragments of animal bones, some of which seem to be articulated, and big rim sherds of a smashed pot sitting on a platform of chalk. This pit seems to be located within the actual roundhouse itself.

The two post-holes that appear to form part of the porch structure of the roundhouse both contained evidence of post-pipes – which clearly indicate that the wooden posts they contained had rotted in situ, and were not removed. Both of these posts are rather substantial and they were sampled by Martin Green and Sadie. The charcoal they contain will help us to find out what kind of wood was used to construct the house as well as perhaps providing a radiocarbon determination to give us a more precise date about the chronology of this phase of occupation on the site.

Two of the other students (David and Lee) were excavating quarry hollows, and one of these contains some nice finds including pot sherds and burnt bone. Alex continued to work on the full excavation of the northern terminus of the enclosure ditch. This lies adjacent to a pit (excavated in 2004) which contained an articulated cow burial and we are hoping to find some more interesting deposits in the terminal.

We were most privileged to have Martin Green helping us on site all day. He fully excavated a post-hole as well as cleaning up areas between our new site and the old excavation areas, where he found more features for us to excavate - as if we didn’t have enough! One of these was a rectangular feature which is aligned east-west and looks suspiciously like a grave. Excavation has just begun on this feature so watch this space for an update!!

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