Monday, 25 July 2011

18. Friday 22nd July 2011

The last day started fine after a dry night but with the forecast of rain for later in the day. In order to ensure the tents were put away dry, the finds team set to work collecting up all the equipment not in use and taking down and packing away the tents.

All the tents are packed away   Photo © Pat Carroll

Meanwhile the area attacked with mattocks yesterday was scraped clean so that Roger could decide that after many years of work on DF the site had finally reached natural.
The last use of trowels   Photo © Pat Carroll

The last plans were drawn, the surveying was finished off and the last photograph taken so that after lunch all that remained was to backfill. It is as well that the previous finds team members visited the site yesterday as they would have seen a rapidly disappearing trench today

The backfilling begins   Photo © Pat Carroll

By the end of the afternoon a group of exhausted people staged down the hill for the last time. At least the backbreaking work shifting  four years worth of excavated rock back into the hole had dispelled the hangovers from the farewell party for Michelle put on by The Blue Bell in Kettlewell the night before.

The final team   Photo © Pat Carroll

So with a collection of over 550 different finds bags, the 2011 Chapel House Dig ended and we now must look forward to what 2012 may bring.

Farewell DF   Photo © Pat Carroll

Pat Carroll

17. Thursday 21st July 2011

Photo © Pat Carroll

Today the wind changed direction and the weather improved so much that, as you can see, the first task was to remove the poly-tunnel.

Photo © Pat Carroll

The main aim was to clean up the whole of the area ready for the last photographs to be taken. This did however result in a flurry of last minute finds

Photo © Pat Carroll

In the meantime Don and James were busy drawing a detailed 1:100 plan of a yet untouched area at the opposite side of the central track-way, which might just possibly be the target for a new trench next year.

Photo © Pat Carroll

The photographs have been taken and the plans drawn, so take a last look at the area before it disappears forever.

Photo © Pat Carroll

Mattocks at the ready! … One … two… three… go!

Photo © Pat Carroll
Whilst the last plan is being finished in one corner, Roger is keen to see if we have finally reached bedrock and has joined the mattock team.

Pat Carroll

16. Wednesday 20th July 2011

Nearing the end  photo © Pat Carroll

Approaching the end of this year’s dig the emphasis today was on planning and a final clean up. In addition to the work on the main site all the students had the opportunity to carry out some geophysical work.

A complex and detailed plan nears completion   photo © Pat Carroll

The morning had begun cloudy but fine, however by early afternoon the rain started and the midges arrived en-mass. The debate raged as to which was the lesser of two evils, trying to persist with cleaning up in the rain or planning in the poly-tunnel and being eaten alive by the sheltering midges.

An attempt to escape the midges  photo © Pat Carroll

The rain became heavier and a valiant attempt was made to carry on working despite the conditions.

Extreme Archaeology?  photo © Pat Carroll

However by the afternoon break it was decided that the rain was not going to stop and the midges had become too voracious to bear so an early halt was called.

Work has ceased for the day © Pat Carroll
Pat Carroll

Thursday, 21 July 2011

15. Tuesday 19th July 2011

With almost everyone now deployed on recording the site there were very few finds to occupy the Finds Team.  Pat and Phil therefore busied themselves reconciling the find locations plotted by our Total Station with the manual records taken by various Finds Team members over the past two weeks.  With over 500 finds this was no quick job.
Phil and Pat number-crunching (photo by Vera Brearey)
Some of the recording took place in the polytunnel.
Amber & Emerald make scale drawings in the tunnel
(photo by Vera Brearey)
But some recording was taking place outside the tunnel, and sometimes it rained.  The drawing paper is waterproof, but how about the humans?
Rebecca & Helena recording in the rain
(photo by Vera Brearey)
 Vera Brearey

14. Monday 18th July 2011

Somewhat better weather today. 
Cleaning the newly excavated area ready for photography and planning continued, with the ground still very sticky. 
Some possible features were spotted, including what may be some sort of drain set into a levelled floor area.  As always, though, it is hard to be sure.  A possible post hole from the first week of the dig turned out to be a mirage on further excavation.  Sometimes what looks like rocks and soil in an exciting layout suggesting a feature turns out to be just - rocks and soil.
By the end of the day the area was declared ready for photography and Roger climbed his stepladder for the photoshoot, with Don and Doug providing support (for the ladder).
The Photoshoot (photo by Vera Brearey)
Vera Brearey

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

13. Sunday 17th July 2011

This morning was very wet indeed - a cats-and-dogs, coming-down-in-sheets, throwing-it-down morning.  After hurriedly erecting the tunnel over the dig area everyone retreated to tents to wait for the skies to clear a little and (optimistically) for the ground to dry out a little too.  Roger took the opportunity to gather the undergraduates in the big tent for a session on the project report they need to write for their course.  Eventually, towards late morning, the rain slackened off and work got under way.
As we enter the last week thoughts turn to recording, so some of us set to work on the scale drawings of this year's dig area.
Ruth, Amber and Peter with drawing board (photo by Vera Brearey)
The remaining diggers set about cleaning the latest layer, ready for photography.  This layer extended beneath the paving stones found on earlier digs, so all eyes were on the lookout for evidence of cobbles or other relevant features for evidence of an earlier structure.
Cleaning after the rain for photography (photo by Vera Brearey)
Vera Brearey.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

12. Thursday 14th July 2011

Ghyll Cottage (photo by Ruth Spencer)
While everyone has been slaving away on the hillside, work has also been progressing at Ghyll Cottage.

The students have spent one or two days there, one or two at a time, in order to learn about the intricacies of post excavation work, and with Ruth (senior) on hand in case any problems should arise.
To date, they have been kept busy investigating the soil samples for hammer scale and for charcoal. Chantelle and Emerald have inked up their plans; Peter has been cataloguing and recording his cache of snails; Emerald has been drawing the quern and always there are finds to be washed and recorded - not so many bones this year, but a fair amount of clinker has appeared.
The students appear to enjoy their time at the cottage, probably greatly helped by having the luxury of the bathroom and the regular cups of coffee, (drunk while working!) Not to mention the delicious smells which emanate from the kitchen, when Rebecca is cooking.  (Also the opportunity for the occasional sampling of these as well......!)
This last 2 days have been quiet with no students, but it was not lonely as Don was there slowly recuperating. I am pleased to say he looks better all the time – just wanted a rest really!
 It is good to be on top of the finds.........
Ruth (senior)