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  • David Quick

Day 5 - and it is getting interesting

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

Well, it has been a few days since the last blog post and the digging is getting very interesting. However, what has been going on?

Well, the standard of baking continues to excel, with goodies produced most days for our delectation at break time. Here are Carl's two yummy cakes from today (with different spices to choose from):

Carl's two cakes for today.

We have had a bit of bad weather earlier this week but much less than I had been expecting from the forecasts. On just one day were we affected by two thunderstorms on a day when I was off-site and I gather that we only lost about an hour of digging time. The only other day when there has been significant rainfall was yesterday, our weekly day off.

Juliet has now moved onto site with her caravan.

Juliet's abode.

With her of course has arrived our Dig Dog: Mollie.

The adorable and well-behaved Mollie who lets us know of any strangers.

For a time Mollie had the undivided attention of the sheep on the other side of the fence. They all stood frozen on the spot until they realised that she wasn't going to harm them.

The sheep were transfixed by Mollie until they got used to her.

One of the lambs got under our perimter fence of nylon mesh fencing supported by road irons so we tried to marshal the stupid thing towards a gap. Instead it decided to charge head-first at the mesh - and managed to punch a hole straight through it. Carl said he was expecting it to come out the other side as little cubes but these lambs are made of sterner stuff and we had to repair the fence as seen here, and put up signs to keep them out.

The lamb managed to punch straight through the black nylon mesh, repaired here with some yellow mesh.

We have had some authorised visitors and it was lovely to see Jeremy Mitchell and his family - Jeremy having been one of the instigators of our first dig in Stroud in 2016 and a keen supporter of our group. We have two more visits planned: one by a local community radio enthusiast coming to do an interview, and the other on 29 August by a group of local residents keen to see what we have found.

Today we had a volunteer, Jenni, taking part all the way from Sydney in Australia. She is in the UK with her husband for 10 weeks and had always wanted to have a go at archaeology. She is taking home with her a small chunk of CBM, provided Customs don't take it off her.

Juliet continues to daily battle with the portaloo people, not always with huge success. She stayed on site all day yesterday during her day off to be there when they were due to replace the loos - only for them to fail to show up!

Juliet's bete noire

This morning a group of four of us went to do a recce of the site, the exact location of which we have been keeping secret for 2 years, nicknamed 'Solent' by us. One of our members found some significant Romano-British items there a couple of years ago which we helped to excavate at the County Archaeologist's suggestion. We have landowner's permission to explore this site further and it now has no crops on it, so all being well and weather permitting we hope to do some geophys there next week.

Digging continues to go stunningly well and we have been coming up with some unusual finds. Here are some photos of activity on site over the last couple of days.

Forming a tight defensive circle at break time

Adam, Amanda and Mark in Trench B searching for any signs of CBM.

Still buckets full of CBM in the Finds Tent although Soo has now processed most of it.

Some CBM is quite big by our standards

Not a lot admittedly but there have been a few sherds of pottery.

Soo and Jenni (from Sydney) doing the finds trays.

One of the more unusual pieces of tile. Broken or made this way?

Carl drawing in Trench B while the rest of his team dig.

Carl telling me how he was told at Silchester that he doesn't write his '7's correctly on his drawings.

Juliet (in purple) is enjoying getting a chance to dig with Liz's team in Trench A.

The Trench 'A' team this afternoon:

As I was heading home this afternoon I called in on Oliver Howe, our wonderful Farm Manager. He tells me that the harvest was held up last Friday by the rain but they hope to restart this evening, given the drying breeze we have been having. Fingers crossed that does not get messed up by the occasional showers forecast for tomorrow, because one of our favourite fields is not available until the standing crop has been harvested. I also heard today from Garry, the landowner of the paddock next to the Seven Stars pub. He hopes to have the paddock mowed in the next few days which will make it much easier for us to do test pits there.

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