Community Archaeology Dig

David Maron

Oxford Archaeology North

Excavation-Week 1.

Work started on Monday 15th April on opening the site. The first week’s work was to clean and highlight the archaeology that was unearthed by the machine. This does not sound much but does involve a great deal of time and effort. This was completed by the lunch time of the following Monday, and this included a day’s work on Saturday. The cleaning of the site located everything that was expected when we planned the location of the trench.

Excavation-Week 2.

The site was surveyed by Chris Wilde of Oxford Archaeology North on the Tuesday and this included taking high view photographs from which plans can be drawn. During the week we were able to dig down and investigate features.

The archaeological record started to throw up surprises during the week, such as walls where there should not have been any. The biggest surprise was reserved, typical of the perverse nature of archaeology, for the Friday afternoon. I have rarely seen so many features in a few square metres of site nor so many archaeologists working in such a small area. However, the features that were excavated provided a massive clue as to the nature of the ‘bath’ in the wash house.

Post Excavation Work-Week 3.

This has been a very busy week to date with work taking place in a number of areas. The work is geared towards the production of the report, in which there are a number of sections. Due to the availability of four days to conduct post excavation analysis/assessment of the excavation we managed to dig until the very end of Friday. While this added a great deal of extra work to this week’s load, it has enabled us to solve the mystery of the exact nature of the ‘bath’ in the wash house.

Written records-completion of context sheets, these form the basis of the excavations ‘Results’ section in the report.

Written records-interpretations of the site, these form the basis of the ‘Discussion’ section of the report.

Drawings-plans and sections of excavated slots. These will be used for ‘Figures’ in the report.

Photographs-these will be used for ‘Plates’ in the report.

Finds-processing of finds, this involves washing, counting quantities and researching finds. Ceramic building material forms the bulk of our finds and one of the volunteers is producing a contribution for the finds report on these.

Stratigraphic Matrix- a diagram to show the phases of the building work on the site, from pre-1850 to post 1975.

Work will continue until Thursday afternoon, with closing down the site for a week being a major task for tomorrow. This includes: cleaning the cabin as it is off-hired from tomorrow; cleaning and storage of tools in the back room of the Smithy; ensuring that the site is safe; completing final post excavation assessment tasks with the finds being the main task remaining.

Open Day-Week 4

We have been planning and preparing for the Open Day as we have worked this week and the following will take place:

Volunteer archaeologists at work, digging more slots to gain scraps of information about the site.

Volunteer archaeologists at work, drawing plans and sections of slots.

A finds area, with processing of finds, display of finds and a chance to vote for the favourite find and guess what a find was for!

A site tour, using a safe route across the site to afford an opportunity to see the different parts and work taking place.

This will be developed between tomorrow and next Friday and will result in the archaeological side of things making a good contribution to what will be, I am sure, a very enjoyable two days.