Day 5 (17/09/04)

Practical Archaeology Course 2004: Day 5

17th September

RecordingRecording The week seems to have gone very quickly and we have come to the end of this first Practical Archaeology Course. There was much to do today, recording the excavations in the two trenches and processing the finds before the course dispersed. Most of the finds appear to be Iron Age, with some apparently Middle Iron Age pottery found in the quarry hollow, but further analysis is needed to confirm the date. The weather didn’t help us a great deal today, and some of the work was done in less than ideal conditions.
 
The weather isn't always ideal!The weather isn't always ideal! Throughout the day Doug Murphy, Survey Officer for Wessex Archaeology, took small groups aside to give them experience of surveying and tying the site to the Ordnance Survey grid. He demonstrated the use of a RTK GPS Unit (Real Time Kinomatic Global Positioning System). This hi-tech equipment uses satellites to pinpoint the position of the equipment to within 20mm accuracy. From this the siting of trenches and features within them can be recorded with astonishing precision.
 
Doug Murphy demonstrating the latest survey technologiesDoug Murphy demonstrating the latest survey technologiesMeanwhile, students continued to use the dumpy level to survey which, though with less impressive accuracy, is easier to understand and use.
 
During the afternoon Martin Green took a group on an extended tour of the monuments in the wider landscape. This was a great opportunity to go further afield than had been possible on Monday, and to see other sites in the area that Martin has excavated in the past.
 
Surveying using a dumpy levelSurveying using a dumpy levelAnd so, reluctantly, the course dispersed to go home - tired, slightly damp and ready for a hot shower but with a better knowledge of the archaeological process, and with a well-earned sense of achievement.