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  • David Quick

Stroud village Big Dig - Day 2

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

Sitting down this evening, I realise just how much has been achieved today and how much I am enjoying project-managing this Big Dig. We seem to be getting a lot more hits on our website all of a sudden and I saw today that our MP, Damian Hinds, has a link to our blog on his website! ​What has been going on? Well, Dave Butcher's team completed two test pits in Sal's garden (where the Roman lead coffin was found in 1898) and Carl also completed a geophysics scan of the high bank - the edge of the old sandpit from the brickworks days. Sadly no significant finds yet but we aim to do at least one more test pit there. Carl tried to hypnotise one of the chickens, unsuccessfully, but she did seem to like having her picture taken. A chicken selfie!

Lyn's team moved on to start a test pit in Margaret's garden. Good progress there too, and they will be carrying on there tomorrow to finish off that test pit. My favourite find from there was a piece of Roman roof tile (tegula). I also like Lyn's snazzy headband, seen here while talking to Donna.

In Ellis' and Pam's garden Chris Hayward's team started digging another test pit. As Ellis had told us about the pile of oyster shells found while digging out his pond some years back, the decision was made to put the test pit close to the same area. Quite a lot of finds - bits of pottery, clay pipe stems, etc., but things came to a stop when they hit what looks like a platform of large flints. They recorded it and are now doing a sondage to see how thick the layer of flints is.

Carl's team had a break from all the geophys they had done yesterday. The resistivity results from the school playing field were very interesting, and seem to confirm the feature we had seen on LIDAR and aerial photos - a linear feature (track or road?) running north-east towards the villa's front gate. The team moved to Jim's garden, which had also been the subject of a geophys survey yesterday, and out a test put where there seemed to be an oval feature on the results plot. It was really hot under the afternoon sun so Mark dug out the gazebos to provide some cover.

The day finished with a visit by Graham Soffe, Chair of the Association of Roman Archaeology, whom I took to see some of the sites being worked on. By then I was dying for a cup of tea - thanks Pam. ​The plan for Day 3 is more of the same, and in the same gardens for now - but word of mouth is working because we had another local resident volunteer today to have a test pit in their garden. I'm not sure how popular I will be knocking on their door to talk to them about it tomorrow morning. Finally, here is a selection of photos by Arthur, our candid cameraman. Reminder to self: must get him to do some video.

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