Yellowmead Excavations

The dig team on the last day

Originally uploaded by lilith_kayt.

Well, I’m back and I have a mountain of soil samples, drawings and context sheets to make sense of. Only one find, but a very nice bit of Bronze Age worked flint, probably a Slub Knife (though it needs to go off for a proper lithics specialist to have a look at it!). Well done to Sarah C for finding it, and on her first proper dig as well!

I have huge thank-yous to say to a whole list of people: Jane Marchand from the DNPA, and her colleagues from EH and the National Park who made it possible to do the work in the first place, my site supervisor James Fenn and my diggers Eanna, Lynsey, Sarah C and Sarah P. These guys worked very very hard and were a lot of fun. Dennis and Jenny Wright for letting us work on site in the first place, and James Paxman and Val Barns from the DPA who brought a great bunch of DPA members up to site for a tour. I also have to thank Bournemouth University and my supervisors as I’m funded by the uni and without their support this whole PhD couldn’t happen.

We were blessed with great weather (we got sunburned on the first day!)- we did get flooded trenches, but that is the nature of Dartmoor and the rain never stopped us working, so I think somehow this time I got the sacrifices to the weather gods about right.

It is going to take a little while to make sense of the results. In some of the trenches things were as I expected, and in some, things just weren’t. I need to re-look at the geophysical data in the light of the ground truthing work, and re-interpret the site. I like this process, it is iterative,  a way of working I find quite intuitive. One thing going up and digging holes has done though, and that is answer my ‘am I an archaeologist’ question. I am. I can ‘read’ a section, I understand stratigraphy and site formation processes. I can see soil colour changes and I can tell worked flint from random chips. I happen to specialise away from digging holes, but when I peer into them I at least know what I’m looking at!

I have still got stuff to upload from our BM visit in September, and I want to blog some more about last week, but this will have to do for now as I have a big meeting to get ready for tomorrow.

In other news my ‘little’ (OK, fully half a foot taller but four years younger dammit!) brother is leaving to Amsterdam tomorrow, and is pretty sure he’ll never live full time in the UK again. I think he’s very brave and despite not being able to be under the same roof as him fro 24 hours without an argument, I’m going to miss having him about. Here’s hoping we still see each other for the important stuff- birthdays, Christmas and the like. Good luck Fish Face!

Neko x

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