Posted by: archaccess | July 23, 2013

Saffron Walden Common dig Day 2

Well, what a change from yesterday!!  No sooner had we got the security fencing up around the trenches (so as to minimise the number of inebriated hedgehogs etc falling into them overnight) than the weather performed the sort of switchback change that is remarkable even for England.  Many weary diggers had a good night’s sleep disturbed by deafening thunderstorms, and as we were all getting up rain was still drilling down  in torrents. Mindful of the need to protect the archaeology, the decision was taken to delay digging until things had dried out, which in practice turned out to mean 12.30pm.

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General view of the trenches with fencing around them (above) with the notice about the excavations proudly in place (below).picture408

Once digging did get started it was about painstakingly trying to establish the edges of the ditches visible in the trenches, which is not as easy as it might have been as having been cut into natural chalk geology, the ditches appear to have been backfilled (in the upper levels at least) with re-deposited chalk which looks quite similar to the natural.   We suspect this means that a bank (made of chalk originally dug out of the ditch) was eventually pushed back into the ditch to level the area, once the ditch/bank had become not only redundant but also a nuisance.  The fills are similar in both trenches, suggesting the ditch visible  in Trench 1 is the same feature as  in Trench 2.  At present there is very little in the way of finds coming out of these ditch fills in either trench which can date either the original digging of the ditch or its in-filling.  A few nice flint flakes (below) from the upper fills of the ditch in Trench 2 are probably residual from prehistoric activity on the site.  One fragment of fired brick from Trench 2 may not sound very exciting, but is actually a valuable hint that these fills were indeed medieval or later in date…

Day 2 T2 flints from fill of ditch
Two flint flakes (possibly early/middle Bronze Age c. 1800-1000 BC in date) from the upper ditch fill in Trench 2

The sparse finds from the ditch fills are in contrast to those from the layers above, which have produced a range of more modern finds (below).  Digging will continue tomorrow to try and expose the lower fills of the ditches and see if there is any medieval material there.
Day 1 T2 finds from spoil heap
A ‘Kim’s Game’ selection of finds from the top/sub soil in Trench 2

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Responses

  1. Fantastic series of finds – looks like ‘bling’ has always been popular. You are very lucky to have such support for Archaeology in the UK and also project which bring together so many communities and age groups. Congratulations on a very successful Dig. Slán, Dominic


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