Get your fists ready… “Team Kaims!”

Coring with Matt Ross in Trench 42

I know I mentioned at the end of yesterday’s post that today’s blog would focus on coring at the Kaims. It turns out that everyone else has things they wanted to post as well, so “Coring with Matt Ross” is going to be delayed a few days. We are, however, continuing with the Kaims theme. The first of today’s posts is written by Kaims Coordinator Neal Lythe and provides an update on this seasons progress. The second of today’s blogs (to be posted later this evening), is written by Laurel Nagengast, “a true Kaimanoid”, about her experience with the Bamburgh Research Project and Bradford Kaims Project.

On that note, if any of our past students and/or volunteers would like to contribute a blog about their experience with us (to be posted in the off-season) please feel free to leave a message on our blog, on the Bamburgh Research Project facebook page, or on my facebook page (Megan Taylor).

 Kaims Update Week 7

Gerry, Media Director, filming the excavation of Trench 42

What a season it’s been so far at the Kaims. We have done numerous test pits. We re-excavated trench 4, to help understand context relationships in trench 6. We’ve performed numerous coring transects. And we’ve opened a series of brand new trenches in the adjacent field, based on the findings from the archaeological magnetometry survey performed by our friends at G.S.B.Prospection.

Based on the data supplied by G.S.B., we opened Trench 42 and immediately came down onto archaeology less than 10cm below our feet. We have also attempted to pinpoint various other anomalies, by placing a number of test pits in the immediate vicinity. After several weeks of digging–and, lets face it, horrendous weather–we have uncovered some cracking archaeology and some very nice finds, which include what is believed to be a sherd of prehistoric pottery, a very nice flint arrowhead, numerous flint scrapers and quite a lot of flint debotage (see “A Day at the Kaims” post).

Initial view of the stone slab that suggested a possible cist or cairn

The excavation of Trench 42 is progressing well, as we continue to uncover more and more of the large stone feature very similar to the one found in trench 6.  The presence of the large stone slab in the middle of the stone feature suggested a possible cist or cairn. Further excavation over the last few weeks has led us to revise our initial theories, and we now fairly certain we are dealing with a burnt mound, though as of yet, we cannot say what it may have been used for.

Hilary in the early stages of excavating the burnt mound

Numerous burnt mounds have been excavated all over Britain as well Northumberland itself. An example of these type of mounds is Titlington Mount in north Northumberland (report published by Peter Topping, 1998).

There are several lines of thought as to what these mounds are used for:  a sauna, meat curing, iron or copper extraction and even beer making. Further excavation at the Kaims site will hopefully expand our knowledge of burnt mounds in general, and more specifically, give us insight into how our ancestors were utilizing the wetland area of the Kaims. Initial assessment of several of the environmental samples taken from Trench 42 revealed surprisingly little. Contrary to our hopes, flotation produced very few, if any burnt seeds/grains, and minimal amounts of charcoal. In fact, the predominant content of the flot residue was modern wirey stems (aka roots). Hopefully, some of the samples yet to be flotted, will produce better results.

The effects of the rain

Week 7 started with rain and the loss of several true Kaimanoids. However, with a break in the terrible weather and reluctant acceptance of our loss, we moved on with more archaeology. Trench 55 looks nice and juicy, with several features poking through. The current theory is that they could be structural, and which may or may not relate to the activity in trench 42. As we are rapidly running out of time, we are quickly trying to record everything as is and we will not be excavating any features that we have in either of the two trenches this season.

“Represent!” (T-shirts are for sale)

In what is my last week, I have to say that this has been my favourite season on the project so far. Yes, even for someone who is not a pre-historian. I would like to thank all of the people for their hard work at the Kaims this year, you have all been fantastic. It’s been a pleasure to help teach you and I hope you all have a great time. We have uncovered some fantastic and interesting archaeology and we have had great fun along the way. To the True Kaimanoids, I have one thing to say, and I am sure you all know what that is. … Get your fists ready… “Team Kaims!!!!!” — Neal Lythe

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