Today dawned damp and drizzly as our trainees braved another day of excavation at Down Farm. This morning we split into two groups. Half the team stayed in the site hut with Talla Hopper from Wessex Archaeology to learn how to process finds, and half returned to site to continue excavation. Talla showed the team how to wash finds using a toothbrush and also how to mark the site code and context number on them with indelible ink. This is very important as it means we can always identify where a find has come from in the future. After a coffee break the teams swapped round so that everyone could learn the finds process and by the end of the morning all of the finds retrieved so far from this year’s training excavation had been washed.
On site, progress is being made with the excavation and recording of our postholes, pits and possible quarry hollows. Today we also used a GPS system and Ellie Brook, a training supervisor for the project, has mapped the features on site so that we can produce a digital plan of the area. This should help us to make sense of any structures formed by our features.
At lunchtime we were joined by Phil Harding from Time Team (who is also a Project Officer for Wessex Archaeology) and he gave an impromptu demonstration of flint knapping techniques. Within a short space of time he had knapped a large piece of flint and had begun to shape a handaxe. It was good for us to learn how some of the flints we have found on site had been created, though it was generally agreed that Phil made knapping look a lot easier than we think it is! Following this we returned to excavate for the last part of the day. Despite the consistent drizzle spirits were high as we left site on the penultimate day of this team’s training week.