Kent cleans up

2179 Monitoring the machine
This week Kent has been helping out with an excavation. Most commonly archaeological excavations start with mechanical removal of recent overburden, in rural areas this will usually mean topsoil and subsoil, in urban areas this can often mean large deposits of ‘made-ground’ the accumulation of rubble and rubbish in recent times. This work is monitored by an archaeologist to ensure that no archaeological finds or features are damaged during the process and that anything which may have been disturbed from its original context can be recovered and recorded. 
 
2176 Cleanig with a trowel
Once the overburden has been removed down to natural levels, mechanical excavation stops. Cleaning of the area is carried out by hand tools, often with a trowel, so that any sensitive archaeological remains can be identified. 
 
This can be slow and painstaking work and requires a keen eye, to identify often very subtle changes in the soil colour or composition, which may indicate that activity has taken place at the site; perhaps hundreds or even thousands of years ago.
 
2177 Impatient Kent tries his hand at mechanical excavation
Once finds or features have been identified, a site plan is created so that the archaeologists can decide how best to investigate the features and recover the finds in as accurate and careful a way as possible. See Kent’s next post on Survey for more information on this aspect of the work.
 
By Lisa McCaig - Archaeologist (London & SE)