Following last weeks post from Paul, the site supervisor for the Bradford Kaims, Graham Dixon, gives us a final insight into the closing phases of the 2011 season and his hopes for next year. To learn more about Graham click the link http://wp.me/pQuNT-dc
I’m starting with an apology. A while ago I was asked write up my final thoughts on the Kaims and the last few weeks of excavation. Belatedly I have put pen to paper (word processor) and am sorry it took so long. Right, enough grovelling.
The last three weeks of the dig seemed, at least to me, to fly by. We spent this time carrying on the work from the first four weeks, dragging the T6 extensions kicking and screaming down to its next context. A couple of new test pits, slightly upstream of this were opened by our Aussie contingent. Tom, gNatt, Clare and Josh had never dug down so deep! These revealed a puzzling layer of clay sitting just below the peat showing signs of burning. Thoroughly confusing, these will be investigated during the next season. Special mention must go to Natalie for her dedication to the Kaims, she even decided to return to the project, just to work in her favourite test pit.
This time period also saw the arrival of Matthew Thirkeld, the Kaims Assistant Supervisor. Matt, now a two year veteran of the Kaims, did a fantastic job coming into the season late this year. My thanks to him for the help and effort he put in, it was a great help.
The last series of this years test pits were also dug nearby. This was in an attempt to locate any potential settlement or use of the site in the surrounding area. Failing that, it would improve our overall knowledge of the stratigraphy of the site. These were stretched across the only piece of flat land at the edge of the river, and spread into the nearby field. Unfortunately the pits successfully improved our overall knowledge of the site stratigraphy but not much else. Damn!
The majority of the time remaining was spent expanding Trench 6. Doing this achieved mixed results. Frustratingly we had a number of post medieval and modern finds and features, as discussed by Paul in the previous post. However among our trials, we found some treasures. Possible post-holes circle near to the paved surface, and on the other side of the trench, two faint circular features were detected. These were difficult to see and nearly disappeared over the next few days due to the dryness of the soil. These will remain until next year, when hopefully further excavation will not show them to be concrete, antennae foundations. We also found a few nice bits of flint, I agree with Paul on this, flint is laaarvely. Most interestingly this year was a cheeky little thumb scraper with pressure flaking, designed to scrape hides instead of tear them. This was found by Mathias who took time out from being a human metal detector, to bless the Kaims with small finds over a miserably wet couple of days. Oh yes, and the biggest darn tooth I ever saw.
This year was a learning experience for me and the Kaims, as well as the students. We made a lot of progress on the site but left ourselves with plenty to be getting on with next June. There are two large new trenches to be carried on and finished, as well as the potential for expansion in almost any direction. There are numerous locations where occupation would be viable: on the surrounding flat ground and uphill of the present site for example. All this would expand on our understanding of the site, its relationship with its surrounding area, and ultimately, its place in the transitional North East.
Lastly I just wanted to thank those I haven’t already mentioned. Neal Lythe, our Trench 1 supervisor at the castle, came along to the site any day he could and was a massive help, always around to bounce ideas off. All the directors, Graeme, Gerry, Paul and Kristian, as well as all the students who made the dig what it was. Well now I can’t wait for next year! Who’s with me..?
We have some exciting news to share with everyone regarding the Kaims, which we will be posting here shortly.