We made our way to site this morning through a landscape heavily shrouded in fog. It was eerie and a little cold. With the fog dampening the sound of traffic and obscuring the neighbouring farmhouses, it was almost possible to imagine what it must have been like for the Iron Age inhabitants of Down Farm waking up on a similar autumnal morning.
By mid-morning the fog had lifted and the site was bathed in bright sunlight. Today’s progress was again impressive and today our diggers finished the recording process and began new features. The site was a veritable hive of activity and by lunchtime everyone in our team was on at least their second feature.
Some of the postholes on site, which had been half-sectioned, have now been 100% excavated. By removing the second half of the material within the cut we are making sure that we have collected all of the finds and that the half section we drew is a true representation of the feature. One of our diggers removed the second half of her fill today and has revealed an amazing set of packing stones. These are large flat pieces of flint that have been placed vertically into the cut in order to secure, or wedge, a post into place. They are used in the same way that chalk packing material, mentioned yesterday, has been used.
In the afternoon we were joined by Pippa Bradley, Wessex Archaeology’s flint specialist, who came for the second week running to talk about struck, burnt and worked flint. Last week her talk helped many of our excavators to identify worked flints and I’m sure the same will be true this week. Pippa uses real examples of struck flint found on various sites to illustrate her talk and it’s great for us to be able to see a collection like this and learn about them at the same time.
After this Martin Green gave a demonstration of flint knapping. This isn’t something that you get to see everyday and it really does help to understand the type of tools used in the past and the processes that went into their construction. The team would like to thank Pippa and Martin, and Matt who came yesterday, for spending time with us these past two weeks.
We really could have watched Martin knapping flint all afternoon, but eventually everyone was dragged away and we returned to site to spend the final hour continuing our excavation and recording.