Events Blog

Practical Archaeology Course 2007 - Day 7

The day dawned bright and it was hot at Down Farm as our volunteers made their way to site. Tremendous progress was made yesterday afternoon and by the end of Tuesday some people were already beginning to record their features.

One volunteer excavated what has to be one of the best examples of a post pipe that we’ve seen on site so far…and probably the best example that I think I have ever seen!

A fine example of a “post pipe” - the soil is darker as the post rotted away in the groundA fine example of a “post pipe” - the soil is darker as the post rotted away in the ground

A post pipe is formed when a hole is dug, the post is inserted and then packed into place using locally available material. In this case chalk that had been removed to make the initial hole had been put back in to secure the post into an upright position. When the post is no longer in the hole, either through deliberate removal or through decomposition, the void left behind gradually fills with silt, borne by wind and water. In this case it looks as if the post may have been left to rot in situ as the line between the packing and the post pipe is incredibly clear. In the photo the packing is the light grey material to the left of the darker brown post pipe.

As the day progressed the site became very busy. Our volunteers were recording, photographing, excavating, drawing and taking levels. By lunchtime we’d made tremendous progress on what, for many people, may be one of the most challenging days of the dig so far. As last week’s team will tell you, the archaeological recording process is detailed and can be complicated. However, with great patience and perseverance we got through it and as most people now have one feature under their belts, the dig will become easier from now on (I promise you folks!).

Work progressesWork progresses

In the afternoon we were joined by a seasoned contributor to our Training Digs, Matt Leivers. He gave a talk on prehistoric pottery, using examples from the archaeological record. An indication of how popular this seminar was is the fact that the team didn’t return to site until nigh on 3.30pm having kept Matt talking for an hour and a half!

We finished the afternoon back on site enjoying the last of the afternoon’s sunshine and continuing with a little more light recording.

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