Blog by Jessica Poulin, McGill University, Quebec, Canada
As per usual, the day began with unloading the van and bringing the gear to the site. The warm weather made for a comfortable and productive work day. Everyone worked hard and made progress in their cuts.
Caroline, Elle, Kirsten, Meg and Pearl have been hard at work in Cutting 1 and produced two deep slits and found human teeth while excavating. The sondage on the South-East side of Cut 1 has revealed two slabs of rock that come out of a large chunk of solid rock and mortar. The position of these two slabs in the rock mass hint at a possible staircase.
The sondage on the South-West of Cutting 1 has not revealed any features that indicate a stairwell. They are in the process of cleaning the area before they continue to dig further. The group is also busy planning and levelling the area.
Emma, Samantha, Ryan, Rob, Niall and I worked in Cutting 2. It was a good day for archaeology and music because there were some interesting finds and Sam brought her music player. Ryan was busy planning Cutting 2 and the outline of the wall, Feature 102. He spent most of the day working on this time consuming job.
Emma found a new layer, Feature 108. This feature is characterized by its coarse and sandy soil. After she cleaned the site she was busy taking photos and planning the layers for the records. Her sondage is interesting because it reveals the base of the wall and the cutting’s stratigraphy.
Rob, who is working in the South-East of Cutting 2, was busy recording Feature 107, which is marked by large worked rocks. One of the rocks, which may be sandstone, is decorated on one side. One side of this rock has suffered from erosion and there is no conclusion as to where the rock came from. Once the planning is done, Rob will dig deeper in order to get to the base of the wall.
Niall was working in a narrow cut situated in the Western side of Cutting 2. This sondage was started by Sam, who could not be at the site because he was not feeling well. Niall worked hard with the mattock and trowel and found a new sandy layer. While working he found an impressive piece of roof slate with a nail hole.
Samantha and I continued our work on the South-West of the cutting. We had to work around two large stones, which appear to have worked edges. The floor of our sondage is sloped and these large stones are close to the base of the tilt. The stones are most likely debris from the wall collapse.
Throughout the day we found pieces of bone, roof tile and one shard of pottery. This red coloured shard is marked by shallow stab and drag marks. We have also hit a new layer, which has coarse sand and small pieces of mortar and stone.
During the afternoon, the group received a lesson on floor tile features. We learnt how wooden stamps were used to engrave tile and the types of colours that would be used. By finding tile you can learn about where and when it was made. Similar to a coin, it can help you place the archaeological record into context.
We stayed on the site a little longer than usual today. There is so much work to be done and we are unfortunately nearing the end of this project until August.