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  • David Quick

CM517 - a hectic couple of days

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

I think David Pink is off sick at the moment so yesterday and today have been enjoyably busy. Yesterday we had two school visits - one from Petersfield and the other from Ropley - and of course as they arrived on site the heavens opened. We managed to keep them reasonably dry by having some of the activities in the finds tent. I am beginning to realise my age, because you discover that none of the youngsters these days - from schools or even from Sparsholt College - have ever seen 'Time Team', so you have to explain everything from scratch.

In addition we have not only been getting increasingly interesting finds from Trench 'S' but have now also opened up a much smaller Trench 'T'. My favourite find from yesterday was the glass ornament, found by Carl, that we think is probably the leg of a horse where it joined the body.

When I arrived on site this morning my first job was to fill up the Finds Tent's water containers, and as I stood by the tap at the water trough I realised just how much wildlife was around. Not counting all the lambs, in the first half-hour I saw a red kite close by, lots of skylarks, some wagtails in the trench looking for insects, and I could hear a green woodpecker and a cuckoo within the field.

Back at the marquee, Juliet told me that David Hopkins was bringing some of his scout group and we also had three other newcomers today so I agreed to act as tour guide. Soo was going to help with finds again, which helped free me up because she is becoming experienced at recording not just building material but all the other finds too. I gave the usual conducted tour and am getting used to the patter now.

At tea break we all sang 'happy birthday' to the birthday girl and had some of the lovely cake - sorry you missed it Jane!

Then we had a rush of small finds to process and also some unusual pottery pieces too. One group of pot finds by Sally yesterday had been bagged together and when cleaned up we found that three pieces of rim not only joined up but also had a lovely pattern on the rim - some engraved 'N's (backwards).

Just before and after lunch I spent some time with the scouts, showing them how to sort, wash and record their finds from the small Trench 'T' which is just north of Trench 'S' as you can see here.

Then I was asked to take some more photos of the trenches with the drone during afternoon tea break and took the opportunity to show David and his scouts how it works. David tells me that County Archaeology have expressed interest in using a drone if the County Council decides to buy one.

Next I was asked to take my camera to Trench 'S' where Mark had discovered an extremely fragile plate embedded in the soil; Juliet wanted some 'in situ' photos because it seemed extremely unlikely it would survive extraction intact.

Mark did manage to extract a block of soil with the plate in it, but having examined it I think the plate is not only very thin but is also crumbling. A challenge for tomorrow. One downside of having so many people digging on Saturdays is that at the end of the day we suddenly had lots of finds trays arrive at the tent, so we will have our work cut out tomorrow!

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