Monday, 28 July 2014

Open Day

Had a sunny day for our Open Day at Nether Compton. Displays (including Yeovil Metal Detecting Club), site visits and sand pits for kids to dig in (thanks to Context One Archaeology for supplying the sand), plus a Roman soldier to talk to. The tea & cake were not bad too. Thanks to all that came to help out.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Pot, sweat & tears

A hot day on site and we were looking forward to finding more artefacts and starting to dig into the features after the rain swept us off site last Saturday. The day started well:
 The ditch was turning up lots of building material plus more BBW of high quality.

It is intriguing that so much BM has come up. There must have been a building of stone, brick and tile here, but this looks like a ditch defended enclosure on the geophiz, probably military and not a permanent settlement. A question we will have to answer.
The pit turned out to be disappointing however.
What we thought would be quite deep turned out to be shallow and flat based. These features are quite common and usually empty of finds.
The ditch did fill a few bags though and the quality of the pottery is remarkable, with one piece decorated.
All in all we felt quite pleased with the haul and hope that ditch will be the deliverer of more information as to the function of this, until now, lost Roman feature in the landscape of north Dorset.

 Hope to see you at the Open Day on the 26th. 

Saturday, 19 July 2014

It's Fete

The famous Three Graces from Lyme Regis and Alison at Nether Compton fete.

Rained off

Day 3 was a washout, unfortunately. But we had a visit from some people from Nether Compton and some more bits of pottery before we had to run for cover. Also we managed to start digging the features. So not a complete waste. Next week is the Open Day at the village hall at Nether Compton starting at 2.30pm. A Roman, metal detecting club, digging for kids in sand pits and tea & cake! Plus a site visit.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Pots & pots

Day 2:
Cleaning day. The base of the trench is cleaned and here are the features uncovered:
North is to the right. The ditch, two pits a post hole and an uncertain feature to the left. Even when just cleaning we had our first pottery find:

A nice Black Burnished Ware rim. 

A very hot day, so thanks to those that came along to day. We are looking forward to many more finds and those made so far indicate a Roman-British enclosure.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Letting the machine take the strain

Day 1: stripping the topsoil.
After relocating the area where we wish to dig we had the machine start stripping the topsoil and subsoil. It is never easy judging the depth of the overburden and one just has to guess how deep we may have to go to locate the archaeology. The unevenness of the ground does not help. In this case the topsoil was 0.50m deep and then the subsoil added to this, to a depth of 1m. Being sloping ground it is likely that soil has built up over time since the ancient features were created leaving no trace on today's ground level.
One wonders if there is any archaeology at all, or if the trench has been put in the wrong place. Or, horror of horrors, the features have been dug out by stripping too deep!
With strong nerves and just a bit of experience the machine uncovered this large pit (1.50m dia.). Our first feature! Pits are always good news, as they have always been the ideal place to chuck rubbish, and of course rubbish is what archaeology is all about.
The pit was a bonus, because what we were hoping to find was this 3m wide ditch, which only came up by extending the trench beyond the 10m length we set out.
The trench is located just to the left of the B, so we have located the ditch section at the top plus the internal pit. As can be seen there are some internal features represented by black blobs. We may have time to extend the trench further into the ditched feature and locate more internal features.

Now we have to clean the base of the trench to look for smaller features and then start to dig them! Look in for more news on the Nether Compton site.