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  • David Quick

CM517 - thunder & lightning

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

It all started off quite well; the weather was quite sunny, the finds were almost all up to date, Carl kindly reminded me that I had left my Thermos cup with my hot chocolate on my car roof. There were even some interesting small finds. However, the rest of the day seemed to go steadily downhill, at least from my point of view.

Once all the finds were washed I decided to do something about the very thin and fragile plate that had been removed from Trench 'S' embedded in soil to prevent it from collapsing. The trouble was that the plate had started cracking as it dried out, making it even more fragile. So I decided to reinforce it by applying strips of plaster of Paris webbing to it and then left the plaster to harden - which will take a couple of days to do completely. Then hopefully we will be able to turn it over and remove the soil from the other side without the plate collapsing.

That done, we had another school visit from Herne Junior School in Petersfield, which seemed to go well. Part way through the visit we were hit by an unexpected hailstorm, so we moved the youngsters inside the Finds Tent and marquee. I next made the mistake of doing the drone demonstration in the pouring rain, and clearly electricity and water do not mix because the drone's motors suddenly cut out about 10 metres above the ground and the drone came down with an expensive crunch - the camera bracket is damaged, so that will have to go off to the Netherlands next week for repair.

After that I planned to take some photos of the diggers and the trenches for this blog, only to discover that my SLR's battery was dead; I had obviously left the camera on overnight. I was beginning to wonder why I had got out of bed this morning.

After lunch we had another school visit, this time from Selbourne. Once again the sky went black and the rain poured down part way through, so we rushed the youngsters back into the tents again. At about 3.00pm after our visitors had left the rain started once more and this time it was torrential and non-stop. I managed to get all the drying trays into the Finds Tent and all the diggers raced back from the trenches with soaked and muddy finds trays in their hands. There was no hope of any more digging as the thunder and lightning started, so after washing a few more of trays of finds I realised that a pond was forming inside the Finds Tent with water pouring underneath down the slope. Enough was enough!

There was nevertheless one lovely find today. Yesterday a small lump had been found that appeared to be partly a copper alloy sphere with another corroded metal attached. Today another perfectly spherical copper-alloy sphere was found nearby, 6.5mm in diameter. It had clearly had something attached to it at one point where there was a tiny dimple, and made of another metal. I cleaned it up with acetone and coated it with museum wax to stop any further corrosion. I may be wrong but it looks to me like this and the other may have been a pair of ear-rings; a quick Google search turns up lots of designs made with metal balls, such as this one:

Tomorrow the forecast looks a little better and, fingers crossed, I hope they are right because we have two people coming for a taster session during the day and then we have the end-of-dig barbecue in the late afternoon.

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