Week 3!

What a fast flowing season this is – barely time to catch breath at the end of the day. So my plan to provide a snapview of each day – at the end of each day – has failed! As Dig Directors we carry with us a responsibility that lasts beyond the 5.15pm coach back to the campsite, beyond the marquee supper (where I make a daily litany of announcements which usually involve lifts, whose turn it is to clean the shower and numbers for dinner), and back to my accommodation where I face the day’s haul of emails before falling in to bed, ready for my 6am alarm the next day….it’s a Dig (Dog’s) Director’s life….

So…we are now half away through, and here is a round-up of the headlines for an amalgamated Week 3!

Felicia’s new trench

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New trench, new challenges

This trench is placed over a denuded and eroded piece of the henge bank (long removed by a post medieval trackway), and runs down the outside of the bank and over the geophysical anomalies identified by Rob Fry during his Ground Penetrating Radar survey of this area in Week 1. It is a long trench – more than 20m in length – but perfect for the numbers we have and, as became apparent as Mark machine-stripped it, full of easily trowel-able greensand deposits. Now all we have to do is dig it!

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The trench in all of its full-length glory

New Arrivals

One of the best things about the start of each new week, is the chance to welcome new people to the Field School. I am always passionate about the experience of an excavation, and I know how much my first dig changed my life: the people I met on that first dig are still my friends now. So I relish the opportunity to introduce newcomers to the digging life! I also know that it can take a while to really settle into the flow of an excavation – getting all the right aspects to come together on that very first day is unlikely…..the ideal digging day = the right weather (not too hot, nor too wet or cold) + the right clothes (comfortable yet stylish of course!) + a good night’s sleep (all the better to appreciate the nuances of the soil and the sting of that first blister!) + some understanding of the daft things you are asked to do (e.g. ‘clean’ dirt, ‘get your eye in’, and ‘clear up your loose’). But come together they will. And then you won’t want to leave….

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Day 1 of Dig 1: James joins Rose’s trench

And – as proof that Digging is Fun – we welcome back each year a number of Silchester Stalwarts who have been digging with me at the Field School since time immemorial, and definitely well before the Roman Conquest.

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Silchester Stalwart Steve returns!

And it is also good to welcome Stella back for her second season at the Archaeology Field School.

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Stella – at home in Dan’s trench

 

Art & Archaeology: a new (ad) venture!

This summer we have organised a collaboration between the Department of Fine Art and the Department of Archaeology at the University of Reading, to take place at the Field School for 1 week, with Wendy Mclean, a Teaching Fellow in the Art department. 8 Art students have been invited to work with us – spending the mornings on site, and then in the afternoons creating artworks in response to their experience of the excavation, the landscape and their overall exposure to field archaeology . The plan is to develop on site collaborations between the Art and Archaeology students, and we hope that both groups will develop and deliver short teaching workshops to each other during their stay. The aim is to encourage and enhance dialogues about our heritage and the ways in which we all experience it. Art and Archaeology have a great deal to share with one another, a great deal to learn from one another – and a great deal of overlap in how we observe, record and represent our heritage and environment.Wendy and I also hope that the residency will provide new areas of research and collaboration between the 2 departments, building on themes of place and identity. The project will also engage with the general public by creating showpieces and conducting workshops which can be enjoyed by visitors to the excavation, Devizes Museum, and the University of Reading. It is planned that the outputs of this collaborative project will also allow the general public to explore their attitudes to, and their experience of, their own heritage.

So, I was very excited when Wendy and the Art students arrived – and brought with them a tonne of enthusiasm which washed over us all! New ideas, new ways of doing things, new ways of looking at things – it was an enormously exhilarating, stimulating and fun-filled week.

Identifying and excavating a Neolithic pit within greensand can be challenging for even experienced archaeologists. Recognising such features is all about colour and texture differences of the soil, combined with the fact that areas which have been disturbed (in this case dug into) consist of looser soils and deposits. It is easy to see why Art students, who work with visual and visceral mediums would make good field archaeologists!

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Rose explaining to Wendy the detail of the Neolithic pit at her feet

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Art and Archaeology collide: Adam and Wendy unpack an artist’s toolkit for the week ahead

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A perfect opportunity for the artist in all of us: just look at the colours revealed in the sides of Felicia’s Trench I! And the chalky green of the rising water…

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Artist and site photographer Sarah working alongside Wendy to record aspects of Rose’s trench

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Another way of recording what we see in our trenches: Wendy at work

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Artists and Archaeologists

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Colour washes for the artists = Munsell soil books for the archaeologists; creation and identification

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Sarah at work

Employability

The Archaeology Field School module is all about employability of our students. So many skills are developed at an excavation, and the Field School aims to capture and enhance them all. Throughout the 20 years of the Field School we have built up an exceptionally good relationship with Oxford Archaeology, one of our closest commercial units. A large percentage of OA employees are graduates of the University of Reading – and many are also Field School graduates. OA – and in particular Ben Ford a Senior Project Manager (and ex-Reading graduate and one-time Silchester Field School Supervisor) – appreciate the high level of training the Field School graduates have been given, and many of our students end up in employment with them. It is now something of a tradition: Ben Ford visits us and gives a talk about Oxford Archaeology – and he then leaves with a shuffle of names and CV’s. Depending on the availability of work at the time, a number of our 3rd year Trainees subsequently receive job offers. As a symbiotic relationship it works very well!

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And Georgia came too! One time UoR student and Archaeology Field School Trainee, Georgia now works for OA. Here she is with Ben Ford – and a circle of potential employees

 

Geophysics

Rob Fry returned to us from more exotic locations, for another week of Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) across the henge bank. He was not short of volunteers to help him!

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Beth gets to grips with technology

 

Visit by Head of the School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Sciences (SAGES)

The Field School has many visitors, and this week we played host to Dr. Nick Branch, the Head of SAGES. Being able to show off a smoothly running Field School with happy students, engaged participants, organised trenches and interesting archaeology is always a bonus! We believe that Nick enjoyed his visit!

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Tweeting with the HoS: Director Jim, Nick and Visitor Trainee Adam

 

Work at Wilsford henge

This week saw great progress at the Wilsford henge pits. With Hannah leading a team of 8 – in heroic temperatures with no shade – great results were achieved. I was constantly impressed by the professionalism of this changing team, their dedication to the work in hand and their ability to outstrip the weather and the hard-as-nails soil – and to achieve results!

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TestPits 3 and 4 (TP3 & 4) located to the south of the Wilsford henge ditch

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Director Jim: ‘it should be just here’….

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An absolute must for any excavation: straight section edges

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TestPit Diggers extraordinaire: Hannah and Emily

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Libby looks on while Hannah determines strategy: there is at least 1 pit here!

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Deep in Thought – archaeologists thinking. (Left to right) Hannah, Georgia, Ben Ford and Director Jim

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And finally…..who digs a henge pit any better? (Left to right) Alex, David, Sean,Mel and Libby

 

Cattle footprints

Oh and this is a wonderful, evocative discovery (the Art students loved this!) – a spread of ancient cattle hoofprints….trodden down into the layers of medieval peat visible in the sides of Felicia’s Trench I. Martin excavated them in plan – and just imagine all those little hooves trampling and jostling and pushing the muddy peat back down through the time sequence, back into time.

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Spot those hoofprints! Revealed in plan as dark circular splodges…remnants of our cattle past…

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Martin in his natural element: mud

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And again…..

 

Open Day

We had a fantastically successful Open Day: the sun shone and the promised ‘hordes’ arrived! 405 people,and our carpark was full to overflowing. There was never a quiet moment from beginning to end. All kinds of things on offer, and a wonderfully engaged, good humoured and interested crowd! It was exactly what Director Jim and I had hoped for.

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Behind the Scenes: engaging our students

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Open Day organisation

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The Art Trail

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Our Artists at work: Wendy, Will, Adam, Yun-Yun, Molly, Pam, Sarah, Holly, Daisy

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Director Jim and I gave site tours every hour, on the hour – ably assisted by Katherine and Adam

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The Archaeology Field School Open Day! Front of House: Harry (left), Harry and Adam!

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Reaching the parts Archaeology cannot: Shiela and Janet provide refreshments for our visitors

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Will shows off his flint knapping skills

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Finds happiness: (left to right) Nathan, Aeneas (Trainee), Maddie (Placement) and Oliver

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And this is how we ‘do’ Science at the Field School: (left to right) Luke, Luciano, Samira (Senior Trainee), Elsie (Science Manager), Sarah and Eliz (Trainee)

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Scientists at work!

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The cores have it: Field School geoarchaeology

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Face painting courtesy of (left to right) Alex, Jess and Emily

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Mark from Wiltshire Museum in Devizes

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Seb and his Victorian wet plate photography (cyanoprints)

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The finished product! Marvellously authentic – definitely of another era!

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A wonderful cyanoprint of Martin Bell – he looks like he should be on a Shackleton expedition!

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Seb at work: it’s all in the gloves!

 

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405 visitors – just saying!! Kush and Megan celebrate!

Saturday party

Every weekend we are joined by various Field School graduates; the Silchester Field School offered the consummate field experience for so many people and they love to return (all grown up) to share their stories and encourage the current crop of 1st year students. And the theme of this saturday night party? Noah’s Ark…..

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Field School successes! Left to right: Rory (Silchester Field School technician); Verity (working in commercial field archaeology and applying for a Masters’ degree); Josh (working in commercial archaeology); Hannah (working in commercial archaeology); Zoe (working in commercial archaeology)

Young Archaeologists win prizes!

This year the Archaeology Field School hosted the 3 winners of the national Young Archaeologists’ Club competition: Tom,Thomas and Hugh. They had to answer the question: Name the 4 Super henges (and, as I am sure you all know, they are….Marden, Mount Pleasant. Avebury and Durrington Walls…). Tom, Thomas and Hugh (and their appropriate parent!) spent a day with us on site, alongside our students and mentored by Katherine, Adam, Henry and Harry. They looked at our finds with Trainee Dannielle, and were able to handle some of the beautiful flintwork we have discovered.

 

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Finds handling

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Handling a piece of Neolithic grooved ware pot

They also spent some time in the Science Hut, and were given a tour of the archaeology, going around each trench in turn. But I am fairly sure that the highlight of their day was being able to do some digging in Edoardo’s trench…..and, guess what…they found some nice pieces of struck flint. Clearly they are all archaeologists in the making!

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Edoardo with Tom, Thomas and Hugh (and their finds tray!)

It was a very successful day – for everyone involved. And Hugh’s mother did a beautiful coloured sketch of the Young Archaeologists hard at work in Edoardo’s trench.

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Young Archaeologists at work

 

Changeover day

Week 3 draws to a close……over 30 people leaving…and over 20 arriving!

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And it’s Goodbye Week 3!

Site Tour Sunday

If it’s Sunday, it’s Site Tour Sunday.

We began with Rose’s trench: the springhead. Hannah led this with great confidence and ability, explaining that we were now exploring the likelihood of a cluster of small, Neolithic grooved ware pits around the Neolithic springhead, by means of a 5m by 5m extension southwards.

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A Hannah Explanation

Next up was Edoardo’s trench where a number of features are now making themselves apparent: postholes, small pits and some linear features. These are likely to be earlier than the henge and are extending our story back in time.

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An Edoardo Explanation

 

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Director Jim added some dramatic effect, with the storm clouds gathering…..

It was then over to Dan’s trench where he teased us archaeologically, talking about flirtatious soils, and peeking through the letterbox of pre-history. Dan’s trench is having to be disentangled gradually (teasingly): disturbances by badgers and antiquarians have led to the deposition and buildup of a very disturbed layer which is masking the Neolithic levels. It is slow -and at times frustrating – work, but Dan and his team are equal to the task.

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Dan flirting with his audience….and the archaeology….

Last but not least, we say goodbye to Felicia’s trench I. The trench will not be closed yet as Martin has more geoarchaeology work to do, but Felicia and her team are being moved to pastures new (less mud). This trench has been enormously productive, and once the layers have been dated, promises to provide a fantastic story to enhance the archaeological sequence being uncovered within the henge.

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Felicia’s Farewell

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Mudlark

Over at Wilsford henge, Hannah and team have already uncovered what may be the outlines of the 2 henge pits. This is tough, challenging digging here: solid soils which will not yield their stories easily.

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Team Wilsford Pits: (left to right) Agata, Hannah, Rory and Paul

 

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Here there be Wilsford pits……

And the glory that is the Wiltshire countryside……

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En route to Wilsford

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Can you spot the Wilsford team in amongst the rape crop?

Our Supervisors dig Super henges with Super powers….

It was a busy day on site, but back at the campsite that evening, it was busier still. We have nearly 40 newcomers arriving, so I spent my time meeting and greeting. The team are always overexcited on a Sunday evening – not only do we get a roast dinner courtesy of Ali, but it is the end of a long week, with all the promise of the new. To add to the excitement, Katharine announced the winner of this week’s Team Social media post – Team Dan2 won with a gloriously whimsical ditty to the combined superpowers of Supervisor Dan and his team. Congratulations to Echo, Megan, Tom, Charlotte, Emilyand Sophie!

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Poetry wins prizes – Katharine presents the prosecco

Week 2…complete!

 

 

Testing Times

This is a Field School, which means that our 1st year students are being assessed for their time on the excavation. For Single Honours Archaeology students, this is a compulsory 4-week residential experience, worth 20 credits. It is optional (but advisory) for Joint Honours students: 2 weeks and 10 credits.

As part of their assessment, each students sits an exam after 2 weeks on site. They are tested purely on what they have learnt over the past 2 weeks, and their time spent in the Trench, in Finds, in Science and in Visitors.  All they need to have done is to have read their Field School Handbook and to have paid good attention when rota’d on to Finds and Science.

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Handling the Handbook: last minute revision

This year, I am running their assessment as a Team Based Learning exercise: field archaeology is all about The Team, so my aim is to enhance this aspect. Each student is placed within a team of up to 6 people, and they remain within this team throughout their time at the Field School. Working within a team for any length of time allows them to learn about their particular skills within a group, and allows the group to encourage and nurture the different personalities and skills within it (at least that is the theory!).

For their exam this Saturday, the students have to do some pre-reading – in this case the Archaeology Field School Handbook. They will then sit the Field School multiple choice exam as individuals. They will then sit the same exam as a team. As  a team, they can discuss their answers, and they will be given scratchcards (to make it more fun…) on which to make their choice. We will then go through the exam questions one by one. The idea is that I can then focus on the questions which teams are struggling to get right, and then help explain the reasons for a particular answer.The final mark for the exam will bea combination of the individual and team scores. This means of assessment is ideal for large groups, and when it works well there is a real buzz in the room. I have tried it once before; the logistics can be a stressful nightmare – but when you have a room full of people all debating the right answers to a question, it is also enormously exciting.

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Sitting the exam in Marden Village Hall: you can feel the tension…

After the exam, and a cup of tea..then comes the scratchcards – and a lively debate about which answer is right – and why….I was challenged a few times – which is exactly as it should be! Scratchcard Mayhem…..

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And – finally – Top Team! One team triumphed (100%….) and prizes were won. Congratulations to Team Ed1 (Edoardo’s team) – Tara, Alice, Hywel, Nathan, Naomi and Beth.

Tonight is party night in the campsite marquee: Army and Barbie is the theme.  Need I say more?

Digging begins at Wilsford henge

Henge talk

We have 4 trenches open at Marden henge, and while each and every one is telling us a story, Director Jim and I feel that we have a wonderful team resource here, and it would be a shame not to use it. So opening the two 3m x 3m square trenches over at the site of Wilsford henge allows us to answer questions posed by the geophysics survey of the area of the henge, which shows a circle of large pits or postholes around the outside of the henge bank.

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Discussing Wilsford pit strategy with Director Jim, Supervisor Rose and Assistant Supervisor Hannah

Meanwhile, up on the main site, it was business as usual.

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A big shout-out for Annie! First time excavator and stalwart of Trench G

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Molly works on a geaorchaeology core

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Martin’s calcareous marl, found at the base of Trench I – and interpreted as a long, long ago lake deposit

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Trench I: Carl has excavated a channel cutting through the alluvium – it was stuffed full of organic material which can be dated – so, watch this space!

And – the visitors keep on coming!

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Director Jim faces questions from a group of Stonehenge tour guides – come to see how the other henge guides….

And…..it’s our day off tomorrow!

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Power cores, Animal Bone Groups, Gender in Fieldwork, Wheelbarrows and Arrowheads

We had a great day today! The sun shone and there seemed to be time for…everything! Rare indeed on this busy Field School….Kevin from QUEST (Quartenary Scientific http://www.reading.ac.uk/quest/ ) was with us and the geoarchaeology team, in order to power core a number of boreholes down to the river. This will add immeasurably to our knowledge of the sequence of river deposits.

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Meet QUEST’s Kevin

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…and his Power Tools

We also had Historic England specialists Fay Worley (animal bone) and Mike Russell(pottery) with us. The project is in partnership with Historic England, and their wonderful expertise is our wonderful expertise for the duration of the project!

It’s an Animal Bone Group (ABG!)

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Fay, meet Badger; Badger meet Fay

Fay loves her animal bones, and Marden henge has provided her with an exceptional assemblage, which we are adding to this season. However, Dan’s trench has, rather sadly, revealed 2 badgers, curled within small depressions in the mixed greensand  – and long dead. Badger setts can cause untold damage to archaeological sites, composed as they are of myriad tunnels and entrances. We speculate that this might be the reason that we can, as yet, see no coherent archaeological  story in Dan’s trench.

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Fay cleaning the badger bones!

Mark Dolan, a Part 2 Archaeology student, won a paid University Research Opportunity to work with me on a project entitled ‘Gender and Fieldwork and Employability’. Using a mix of questionnaires, research and focus groups, Mark will explore the issues facing young archaeology students today and ask whether gender is relevant in fieldwork. An extract from his questionnaire:

Gender and Employability in Archaeological Fieldwork Survey

The responses to this questionnaire will form part of a research project looking at how gender affects employability and career paths in the archaeology sector. All answers will remain confidential and names will not be used in the final report. For the purposes of this study, the traditional gender dichotomy (male/female) will be used. Please circle the appropriate responses.

Mark is interviewing a large number of undergraduates, career archaeologists and staff on the project – both male and female – and today he grabbed the opportunity to talk to both Fay and Michael about their views.

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Michael and Mark talk Gender and Fieldwork

Week 2 is a week when the project settles in…..all trenches are open, minor logistical glitches have been sorted out, and all participants have gained a healthy glow. They have gained an attachment not only to their trenches and to their own little areas of soil – but quite often also to specific items of equipment…..everyone has a favourite wheelbarrow for example…

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Walking with Wheelbarrows: Richard (left), Tristan and Harry

And, finally, a fantastic find to end the day on…found in Edoardo’s trench…..

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An arrowhead of great beauty…

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Found by Richard!

 

Gratuitous!

Wilsford scything scene voted best TV moment of 2016

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Director Jim and I are nothing if not a team, and today we located the sites of 2 new trenches. These 2 trenches are situated over 2 outer postholes, arc-ing around the outside of the Wilsford henge bank and ditch. They show up clearly on the geophysics and are ripe for archaeology!

Team work

The site of Wilsford henge is under a rape crop, and we have liasied with the owner of the field to allow us to excavate within it. Director Jim and I scythed a path to the postholes, followed by Elaine with her survey pole. Director Jim rippled and scythed, and I gathered and threw. Elaine walked behind us and accurately located the positions of the 2 postholes; Jim, Elaine and I laid out two 3 x 3m trenches. I lost my favourite dig boots: rape roots ripped the sole out of them!

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Aidan Turner: eat your heart out!

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View from our Wilsford trenches

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Week 2, Day 2

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The morning walk to work: the Archaeology Field School’s Visitors’ Team

Trench RoundUp

The thick spread of colluvium in Trench H is being machine-reduced, and so Rose’s team are temporarily re-located into Edoardo’s trench.

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Rose versus the machine

Edoardo’s trench contains a number of linear features filled with a soft sand – natural features, or archaeological features?

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Excavating a linear ‘stripe’ in Edoardo’s trench

All participants are treated to a drawing Masterclass by Sarah Lambert-Gates. Our brightly-coloured Sarah is multi-talented: she draws, she photographs, she makes videos, AND she can dig (she also plays the spoons, sings and rides a bicycle for miles).

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Sarah’s Students

In Trench I Elaine is georeferencing the trench edges, whilst Felicia and Greg draw the trench section. Can you spot the cattle hoofprints pressing down through the dark peaty layer? This trench is being recorded in extraordinary detail, and will provide us with intricate information about the geoarchaeology of the flood plain.

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Recording Trench I

How about Dan’s trench? It looks deserted, and there is a reason for this….

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Blue skies above a deserted trench

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Drone photography: the only way to contextualise our artchaeological features

Today was a joyous day – the weather was blue sky beautiful and the trenches were full of busy, interested people. This is a Field School in full swing!

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A Swingin’ FieldSchool…..

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Day of Independence

Settled In

And so the Field School is now on Repeat…having done it all once during Week 1, we now know what to expect. And after inducting 87 newcomers last Monday, this Monday was a breeze – only 20 newcomers!

Once I had introduced the Field School newbies to the Rules and Regulations which allow the Field School to hiccup along in a generally organised fashion, I took a walk round the trenches….

Trench Walk n’ Talk

Rose giving the new arrivals a tour around the Trench H springhead.

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Springing into action in Trench H

There are a number of excitements in Trench H – 2 pits filled with charcoal, a small amount of burnt (presumed) animal bone and some Neolithic grooved ware. These pits are cut from within the thick layer of colluvium, the sorted waterborne material which has funnelled down from the higher areas of the henge. Their presence suggests ritual Neolithic activity in the vicinity of a spring. Exactly what we are hoping for…..

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Kristian excavating one of the charcoal-filled pits

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A charcoal-filled pit; half the fill has been excavated and placed in a white tub for sampling

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Director Jim ‘photo bombs’ excavator Isaac

Half of each of these pits is excavated carefully, with the material being placed within a white sample tub for flotation, sieving and sorting. This allows full recovery of small artefacts, and any microscopic material which aids reconstruction of the environment of the time. The cross section is then drawn in order to record any different layers within the pit – and then the other half is removed. This method of excavation allows careful, measured recovery of all material within an archaeological feature.

Meanwhile, in Edoardo’s entrance trench, the new arrivals are put to work.

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Will supervising Simon (left) and Kaine

And today we have a special guest excavator: Dr. Duncan Garrow is joining us for a day in the trenches. Duncan is a colleague from Reading’s Department of Archaeology. He is an Associate Professor and he teaches later European prehistory. Duncan loves to visit our excavation and excavate ‘enigmatic’ features…

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Will and Duncan….great thoughts…

It’s easy to tell who is digging in Trench I…..

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Emma modelling the wet look

And finally a lovely, happy picture of Science Manager Elsie…she has had a good day sorting out the backlog of samples left over from the 2015 season….It has clearly gone well today!

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Small plastic bags of sorted soil make Elsie happy

 

 

End of Week 1: Super Sunday in a Super henge

Slow starts

Work starts an hour later on a Sunday, and first tea-break comes round very quickly. It is a time to be savoured – the sun was out, the tea was hot and there were plenty of digestive biscuits.

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Field School Trainees in their natural habitat

Discoveries! Trench G

Trench G was located over the possible site of a spring head within the henge; and so it proved! Water sprung in the far south-east corner of Rose’s trench….it sprung with a whimper rather than a bang, but nonetheless this was an exciting and positive discovery.

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An early springhead, sealed by Neolithic levels and rising up through the natural greensand

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Tool of choice in Rose’s trench: the much underrated hoe

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Valeria demonstrating her newly acquired mattocking skills!

Discoveries: Trench H

In Edoardo’s trench we are chasing gravels: are these deliberately laid as a pathway through the henge entrance and down to the river, or are these pockets of natural gravels utilised by the henge users as a convenient hard standing for a routeway? Time will tell.

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Edoardos’ team have made a wonderful job of exposing, cleaning and recording the gravels

DigFarewells

The saddest thing about our site Sundays is that it is our week’s end- and people leave us! Today it was the turn of our DigVenturers. We very much enjoyed their expertise, hard work and enthusiasm and we hope they will keep in touch with the project.

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Hilary and her Skills’ Passport – duly signed!

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Italian charmer! The white trousers have it! With Karen (left) and Hilary

And so we have survived Week 1 of the Archaeology Field School….

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Nothing DigVentured, Nothing DigGained

Saturday morning

Getting everybody back into the Dig Bubble the day after a day of rest can take a little time and effort. Participants have scattered to far corners, and have to be brought back by minibus, taxi, car and coach….trowels have to be recovered from abandoned buckets, pooled waterproofs have to be picked off floors, and water bottles filled for the day ahead. By 9.30am, everyone was where they should be, hands back in the Wiltshire soil.

The day began with a site tour for our DigVenturers.

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Director Jim putting Marden henge into context: DigPointing

It takes about 45 minutes to walk around our trenches, and there is always something new to see, something new to be explained or pointed out.

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Trench G: DigRose

Expressing individuality in the trenches is something our students are very good at!

 

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Alex – pretty in pink? With Danae, in Trench Rose

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DigView: Trench G

We took advantage of the fact that Martin Bell is with us on site today, working in Felicia’s riverside trench, and our DigVenturers spent some time with him, learning about the geoarchaeological sequence on the floodplain,and how it enmeshes with the artchaeology of the henge.

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Meeting Martin

 

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It’s a spectators’ sport watching Martin getting up close and personal with Trench I

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Brendan and Lisa – ChiefVenturers

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Glorious Trench I: Martin pointing out the peat layer, dated to the Saxon period

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A work of art: Martin’s transect drawing. Each core contains different layers picked out in colour, and the layers are inked and linked to create a cross-section of the landscape topography

And a visit to the Geoarchaeology Team – coring their hearts out….transects north from the river, across the floodplain and up to the mini-henge…..

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A Team of Two Toms

All newcomers were desperate to get into their trenches, so once the scene was set, DigVenturers joined with the Archaeology Field School, and work commenced.

In the afternoon. DigVentures introduced a special guest: James Dilley, a PhD student and flint knapper of extraordinary talent. Before long James had a circle of admiring spectators gathered around him as he demonstrated 101 things to do with a piece of flint.

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A Flint Knapper’s baggage

 

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James and a hafted arrowhead: arrowheads such as this have been found in our excavations at Marden henge

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James doing what he does best: knapping to a rapt audience

A very full day came to an end, and we all gathered at the campsite marquee at 6.30pm for dinner and reflection on the day in our trenches.