Days 2 and 3 at Forteviot
Intertubes connection is a bit iffy atm as I’m relying on tethering my mobile to get access.
Yesterday was wet. So very, very wet. Well, ok it wasn’t that wet but it did rain pretty much continuously all day and whilst we didn’t get flooded out or anything the rain did turn the earth to mud making it difficult to dig into. We spent a rather unpleasant hour or so troweling the top soil of the trench down a few inches whilst AK dug a test trench along the north face of the trench to see how far down the top soil went before hitting the first context. After a quick consultation with Big Proff D it was decided that the top soil went down to far for us to bother troweling and so out came the maticks and shovels. 🙂 It is sooooo much better standing up and digging in the rain than troweling on your hands and knees in the muck.
Even though we were just cutting through the top soil we pulled out some interesting finds, including some potentially human bones.* We also retrieved some Roman pottery and a really cool wee copper alloy toggle that would have been used to prevent belts or laces from fraying back in t’olden days.
Despite the rain we got a fair whack of work done in preparing the trench. 🙂
After yesterdays deluge which left everyone looking damp and, in some cases, almost despondent, today ended with everyone sun kissed and smiling. 🙂 I’m glad I actually remembered to pack sun screen for once as it was a bit of a scorcher at points today. There was no back breaking digging for me today though as today I learned how
to use a Total Station in carrying out topographical surveys. Gizmo-tastic Batman!
Now I’m able to wear a hi vis jacket, a fluorescent staff and look mysterious in public places! 😀 Much like some hippies I used to know back in the day… This gizmo is used to take precise measurements in order to, for example, make a detailed plan of a site or building. They are also used to map out the location of finds as they are unearthed during excavation. Hopefully we will see these instruments getting a lot of use over the next few weeks.
After a lunch/sunning session I had the great pleasure [/sarcasm] of carrying out a standing building survey. I wasn’t really enamoured with section drawing(precisely recording the contexts in a trench, a profile of the trench wall if you will) when we were doing that in uni and this was just the same writ large. This is a two person task where one person measures from a base line the location of pertinent points on the wall and their accomplice draws the thing following their instructions.
The standing building we were to survey was the manse garden wall which runs the southern length of the paddock I was working in yesterday. Which did lead to mixed feeling at being plonked on my arse drawing whilst the people I was digging with yesterday were digging away in the sun just behind me. Mixed feelings being mostly schadenfreude. 😀
Its a really accurate way to record features that wouldn’t really show up on a photograph but it is such a drag, from my point of view. I’m sure there are plenty of people who get a kick out of producing a really good section plan/drawing but I’m unfortunately not one of them.
That said, the wall we were drawing was really quite interesting as upon examination we could see that it was actually the north facing wall of an old house that had been partially demolished and incorporated into the manse garden wall.
Also whilst we were carrying out our survey we also got attacked by a mutant insect that can only really be described as the vanguard in the coming war between insects and human beings! (Pic to come when I have a better connection)
*Although they could as well be cow, sheep, pig, goat, dog….. 😀