So we’ve reached the end of week two so now seems like a great time to update you all with what’s been going on!
First off: for a quick introduction I’m working on the very top trench. We’re not 100% sure what we’re looking at just yet but we do know we have some sort of rubble surface or collapsed building (aka an unarticulated pile of rocks) with a wall running to the south that may or may not be linked to something further down. We also have an old trench from the 1930s cutting through everything which has left us with excellent access to the stratigraphy (the layers in the soil which can be used to see how different aspects of the site build on top of each other) and from this we can see a red layer and black layer, though we’ve not 100% sure what caused them yet.
Monday was a bank holiday so we had a late start but the first couple of days were largely similar. We spent most of the time removing topsoil which involves loosening it with a mattock and then shovelling it away to the soilheap. It’s very labour intensive work but it has to be done!
Things start to get interesting. The morning was spent trowelling but then the heavens opened. Cue 100 archaeologists standing around dodging the lightning. Now I love a good storm from a window but from a field it’s an entirely different experience…
Friday was a little more sunny. Our supervisor brought rocket lollies which was great! Mainly we were troweling, still not many great finds to speak of but the features are starting to emerge which is exciting!
Not much to report from these days. Monday I took off, tuesday we were in Kings Manor (the home of the Archaeology department) and wednesday I was doing heritage work from home.
Tuesday was the highlight of these days. We had some lovely talks by lecturers in the department about the nature of heritage and good outreach practices. I left the day motivated and with a couple of new blog post ideas so watch this space!
We spent the morning in Malton Museum which was so lovely. We got to meet some of the volunteers who work there and spent some time looking at some of their outreach programmes such as the boxes they send out to schools. The highlight for me was being able to see the stores. They kindly showed us some of the items they had and we spoke about the logistics of keeping these items, how they’re catalogued and how they’re used. If you’re in the area I would highly recommend going down the museum and having a chat with one of the volunteers, they’re super friendly and really know their stuff. You can find more information here:
Also my parents came to visit and were given an extensive site tour. No pictures from that though you’ll just have to take my word for it!
The start of the day brought some bad news: someone had come in the night and pulled out a number of grid-pegs. These are very important for working out the exact location of finds in the trench as well as plotting the features and they are time consuming to install as they need to be in the exact right location. This is great example of why heritage outreach is important. We need to teach the community to respect these sites as to avoid things like this happening.
In the morning we had a talk from James Taylor about stratigraphy: how it can be useful and how to record it. In the afternoon we had a man from Digging for Britain come and talk to us. BBC 4 have left us a camera to film our dig as the footage may be used by them in an upcoming episode. I’ve been interested in videography for years so this is something that I’m particularly excited about (regardless of if they use the footage or not, but obviously I hope they do). I might make a whole post about this later down the line so let me know if that would be something you’re interested in. Later we had a talk from our site director Steve Roskams about everything we’ve learned so far. If you want to learn more about the site he’s doing a public site tour on the 13th that anyone is welcome to comealong to.
We also had an appearance from our trench-cat! She appeared in week one and we named her Deventia (after the Roman name for Malton) but after some debate she was renamed Minerva. She’s super friendly and if you find yourself on site keep an eye out for her because she’s always happy to say hello.
Thanks for sticking with me I know this was a long one! If you’ve made it this far then comment down below any questions or feedback so I know you’re still paying attention! See you next time