Day 3 of STR818 at Stroud
It was a bright start to the morning and we were able to have the initial briefing in the open instead of sheltering from the drizzle under the Pole Barn as we had to yesterday. Yet again it was lovely to see several new faces.
You may have noticed from Carl's magnetometry results in yesterday's blog that there were some off-the-scale anomalies, so having closed Test Pit 1 Juliet made the decision to site Test Pit 4 over one of these anomalies. We had enough people today to continue Test Pits 2 and 3 as well. Here you can see the gazebos for TP2 & 3 on the left, the gazebos for our finds and break areas in the centre, and TP4 under the Coleman Shelter on the right:
Ground conditions were extremely hard, with most saying that it was difficult even pushing a trowel into the dense clay.
In TP2 Pete slogged away, sometimes with help..
...but for much of the time doing most of the digging with an attentive audience:
Over in TP3, this one was intended to find again where we had located lots of Romano-British CBM last year and try to determine the extent of it. Here you can see Hugo working with a mattock on the first 10cm spit while in the foreground you can see part of a tarp at the level of last year's excavation.
It was really hard graft but by the end of this afternoon the pit was almost down to the level where we discovered all the CBM last year, so results should be promising tomorrow.
Over in TP4, site of the mag anomaly, it didn't take long before the team started to come across Romano-British CBM and building stone not far below the surface.
As the day went on, the pieces they were excavating were frequently quite large: big floor tiles and a nice tegula with a diagnostic notch for dating:
Oliver Howe, the Farm Manager, came across to see how we were getting on, He was intrigued at how much archaeology there was at such a shallow depth in the middle of his field. He asked whether it might have been hard core for a trackway, but the way the material lay in the ground suggested it was just tumble and had never been struck by a plough. As far as we know this field has always been grazing. As the afternoon progressed the diggers kept finding more and more, with tantalisingly large tiles sticking out the side of the test pit.
I did put the drone up at lunchtime and flew it 500 metres across to look at one of the fields we are interested in. Peter asked what I could see, so I lent him the goggles that give a live high-definition view of what the drone is seeing:
And this is a view of New Buildings Farm taken by the drone from the south during the flight:
So all in all another very successful and enjoyable day despite the hard digging conditions. Hardly any rain. Let's hope it stays that way tomorrow too. The forecast seems reasonable until Wednesday.