Day 1 (13/09/04)

 

Practical Archaeology Course 2004: Day 1 

13th September 

Despite appalling weather overnight, the course started under clear skies and after introductions and an initial briefing session, Martin Green led the group on a tour of his excellent museum, the excavation site and the area around it.
 
This landscape is rich in prehistoric features – the Dorset cursus crosses the farm, a long barrow and several round barrows are visible on the slopes while the Roman Ackling Dyke passes through it on its way from Badbury Rings to Old Sarum. But it is not these visible features alone that make this landscape so intriguing. Crop marks and past excavations have revealed shafts (the earliest fills of which date to the Mesolithic), and ditches and enclosures dating from the Bronze Age (2400-700 BC).
 
All this was more than enough to whet the appetite, and after lunch students were eager to begin fieldwork.
 
The area they are investigating appears to contain Iron Age (700BC – AD43) features. Trench One contains a number of postholes, some of which have already produced finds – including loom weights and pottery sherds. A second trench, was also opened up this afternoon, and contains a length of ditch, which terminates within the trench. There are several more post holes to be examined here too.
 
During the afternoon, students hand-cleaned 75% of Trench One and re-excavated 2 post-pits of a putative roundhouse. Another group of postholes was uncovered in the NE corner of the trench, with a further small group in the SW corner. Burnt flint and some flint flakes were recovered during the cleaning process.
 
Tomorrow the group will finish cleaning Trench One and start the same process in Trench Two.