The one with the biggest piece of Iron Age pottery

It was the first day back on site since after the heavy rains the week before, whereupon excavation had been cancelled. Luckily due to nice summery weather over the weekend the site had dried up.

Across the wall from where the bulldozer tracks and Wilmot’s trench had been, works group J. Split into two groups for each of the trenches we dug. The one group spent the day learning how to record and draw and survey the trench and its features. The rest of group J, on the other hand, spent the day debauching the rampart and digging deeper into the palisade in trench AK. The morning was spent clearing off all the yellow soil and reaching a light grey soil which is believed to be the original rampart as well cleaning up the supposed sheep track. For the past few weeks we had been working around carefully so as to not destroy any of the archaeological features present in that little hill, so this morning when we finally got the chance to mattock the whole thing a few feet down, many of our faces bore gleeful expressions. When clearing the loose it became apparent that once more moles or some kind of animal had dug its way through the soil thus causing some cave-ins. The work paid off as one of our group members found what was believed to be a piece of Neolithic pottery (the first piece to be found on the other side of the wall). The Neolithic pottery did not remain the most interesting artefact of the day for long as a little while later another group member who was digging out the palisade found a piece of jet.

The finds continued after lunch; one of them being very unexpected yet very exciting. Whilst clearing up the loose and digging further into the palisade, pieces of flint and charcoal were found by both a student and our supervisor Kirk. These were not the first that we had found, but at the same time they were not a part of a large collection. This was not the end of the accumulation of finds however. In the first week a group member had dug a part in the tail of trench AK which came to be nicknamed “Bertha” and also “sexy pit” due to the intricate stains the peat and the mud had formed. Sadly, we had to dig deeper into the ground, thus destroying the patterning, but, it proved worthy when a large piece of dark brown pottery was found within it. Upon some closer inspection by Dominic Powesland based on the texture of the pottery (dark clay) and its location in the tail of the trench and stratigraphy it is thought to be an Iron Age pot. There is the possibility though that the tail of trench AK could be part of a burial, and thus the explanation for the deposition of a pot. A lot of care was made when digging it out using a smaller trowel and paint brush, but once it had been photographed numerous times for the 3D recording Dominic and the student broke the pottery on purpose so that it could be bagged and tagged. And thus ended our exciting day.

 

Trench AK, where we had worked, had not resulted in many finds over the past few weeks, however, with the artefacts discovered today, all the work and slaving about we had done previously, proved definitely worth it!

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