Heslington East Community Archaeology Project

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Monday 16th May 2011

Walking on to site this morning was not a great feeling, firstly it was a Monday morning and secondly it was cold, wet and very windy. But alas, day 11 had started and the Heslington East team were ready to commence excavation… sort of anyway. This morning consisted of moving trenches for me, as my services of drawing were no longer needed in my own trench (trench A) and I was sent over to trench B to help with their drawings. I was asked to draw context number: 1510 (i.e., Tom Wilkinson’s section) because the team needed to crack on with digging the area and needed all of the hands they could get and mine, unfortunately, were unable to do the actual hands on work, so I was assigned the task of drawing. When I asked what I was actually drawing James answered with ‘it’s another linear’, an answer that I should have been able to guess really as that’s all that seems to be found at the moment! Drawing may have seemed like the easy option at the time but it was most definitely not. With a combination of wind and sand I was literally sand blasted while trying to draw a profile and plan drawing of the section. Plus, the masking tape decided that today would be a good day to sop being sticky; I can now safely say that it is very difficult to draw while your paper is flying in the air. After a very repetitive morning (draw a little bit, run after paper, draw again, and run again…), we had our weekly tour of all of the trenches, but with a twist this week, members of the trench had to talk about interesting features or artefacts that had been found. This proved difficult for each group, as the wind was blowing at such a force that it literally stole the words out of people’s mouths, but none the less each group gave a bit of information about their trench. Every group had developed from last week and had a little more to add than previously.
Summary of weekly trench visit:
Trench A (David): finished most section work and drawing and started on new sections in the hope of finishing them this week. The team came to the conclusion that the majority of the features were linear, which could possibly be connected to the well that was excavated south of the trench a few years ago. Lots of teeth, bone and pottery was found all over the trench.
Trench B (James): mostly linear sections on this trench too, which run North to South and could possibly connect with the linear in trench A. Possible cremation site found North East of the trench a few days ago that has now been excavated, drawn and samples have been sent off for testing.
Trench C (Claire): A few post holes and a steak hole have been found, which suggest that a structure has been demolished or fallen down in the proximity.
Trench D (Alistair): A large cobble stone area located at the North East area of the trench is still being excavated, but what conclusions they have drawn from this is unclear due to the wind and not being able to hear them! A horse skull was visible too with dark soil surrounding it, but again I was unable to hear what theories surround the find.
Trench E: Large cobble stone area is visible but unable to hear what the theory is regarding the sections. Soil change in the trench indicates linear ditches and the team are currently excavating to see whether it goes any deeper (South section of the trench).
Megan Forrest – Group G

Tom Wilkinson

8:00am. My alarm clock suddenly bursts into action. It’s been waiting all
night for the sweet moment where it gets to wrench me out of a peaceful
slumber with its startling polyphonic chimes. But I don’t mind. I’m excited
at the prospect of a hard day’s work in the excavation pit.

9:38am. We start work, I try not let the fact that I haven’t actually found
anything yet dampen my spirits. There are so few opportunities in modern
life to get to work with your hands, so I relish the chance to get down and
dirty with a mattock. The going is hard, chipping away layer over layer of
tough natural, but it’s very satisfying to be given a task and to see it
slowly take shape over the course of the day.

12:36pm. Lunch. Turkey and rocket sandwich on linseed bread with Dijon
Mustard. (Sounds nicer than it actually was)

13:08pm. All day we have been exploring the area to the immediate North of
a possibly prehistoric post hole, found by Gord Wallace. We hope to
discover more post holes and suggest some sort of link, however we are
unsuccessful so far. There are two very clear edges running parallel about
3 meters apart, the current interpretation is that we are excavating some
sort of shallow bowl-like feature. The way forward is simple: empty the

15:15pm. My first ever archaeological find! A piece of possibly medieval
tile roughly 7cm by 5cm. We are finding a lot of this tile in the feature
and a similar piece was also found in the base of Gord’s post hole, however
no solid interpretation of the feature has been formulated yet.

16:24pm. As usual I try sneak off early, and as usual the Site Manager
pulls me back until the equipment is fully packed away.

Tom Wilkinson Group J

    1 comment | 17th May 2011, 07:23:13 | Posted by Cath Neal | Blog


    Andrey says:

    breaks down simple dinarwg techniques to facilitate visual thinking. The tutorial comes from a post on the blog of Bigger Picture, a Danish company that teaches visual language and visual thinking

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