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  • David Quick

CM418 - nearly the end

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

We have had two days of glorious weather on 17 and 18 May as we come towards the end of our Colemore spring dig and the conditions have been ideal. I have had so much help in the finds tent that I have been able to get out around the site more with my camera, including my 700mm wildlife photography lens. Not only can I see the red kites close up but I can also see how hard people are working all the way over by the pond!

Which reminds me - while speaking of people who work hard, and just in case there are any archaeology employers reading this, we committee members have been really impressed by two young professional archaeologists who have joined us on this dig - Kim and Megan - and they are looking for employment! They have turned their hands to everything, from geophys to trowelling and from surveying and drawing to finds processing; they have usually been the first people on site each morning too. Here are some photos of them hard at work:

If seriously you want to get in touch with them about possible work opportunities please email me via

What was the situation on Thursday? Well, As you can see above, Kim and Megan were doing the levels and trench drawings for Trench Y where work had finished after reaching the bottom of the ditch. Here are two of my photos of the north and south face respectively of the ditch:

and this is what it looked like from above from the drone:

All in all this has probably been our best trench for finds - lots of large pieces of pot in particular.

Over in Trench X we had Mark and Liz also trying to find the bottom of their ditch, and were making good progress, with the layers clearly visible:

Juliet tells me that a V-shaped trench like this usually dates from the Iron Age, which figures given that it is part of the ladder enclosure series of ditches which I believe were usually late Iron Age or very early Romano-British. This is what it looked like from the drone:

At the other end of the same ditch, some distance away in Trench W, the gents were still digging away to find the bottom of their section of it:

Here too the ditch is V-shaped in section. Half-way along Trench W, where we have extended the trench side in a 'notch', the ladies were continuing to explore the intriguing 'platform' they had exposed, which seems to be made of malmstone blocks on top of crushed CBM material:

The more we look at this feature, the less convinced we are with the initial suggestion that it was perhaps a furnace. Given the very straight edges on two sides we are coming round to the idea that it was perhaps the corner of a floor abutting a right-angled wall. When close up you can see the the stone blocks were originally rectangular and closely fitting, but have been damaged by frost and the plough over the centuries:

At the bottom-left of this view there were also some pieces of CBM sticking out of the ground and when lifted these were found to be pieces of a box flue tile with a combed outer surface:

This is the aerial view of the whole of Trench W:

What else happened during the day? I discovered that we had a leaky connector at our tap by the water trough, so made a note to bring a spare tap and connector from home.

Then today, Friday, we had another good turn-out again. Mark kindly fitted the replacement tap after morning briefing and also got out his chainsaw to prune some of the low-hanging branches that were striking the perspex roof of the toilets. Carolyn, who had had to disappear briefly yesterday afternoon to get a replacement for the dead battery in her caravan, cracked on with finds recording while Dave Shepley and I got on with pot washing. Chris and the school visits team prepared for their two primary school visits - one in the morning and the other in the afternoon.

Within an hour we had caught up with the finds work. Dave Shepley chilled out for a while whereas Julia had brought her drawing equipment, and at Juliet's request got on with drawing some of our nicer finds for the eventual report:

Barry did a bit of metal detecting in the Trench X spoil heap while waiting for the first school visit, but didn't find anything:

I did a brief drone demo while the first group of children were visiting:

During the day Mark and Liz worked really hard in Trench X to find the bottom of the ditch

and by afternoon tea break it was ready for me to take these photos of the ditch section, facing in both directions, and of the overall trench:

Likewise, in Trench W at the western end the men were working quickly to get to the bottom of the ditch, having to cut steps while doing so to get in and out safely:

Davy was busy trowelling in Trench W:

while Kim and Megan were recording the post holes:

and our enthusiastic and colourful team of ladies carried on clearing around the structure, to try to find its extent:

Juliet was thinking about whether it was feasible to lift the structure without damaging it. (Personally I hope we don't!)

To finish, here is a video clip of everone working hard in Trench W towards the end of the day. If it works, you should be able to rotate your viewpoint for a 360-degree view:

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