Week 1 at the Bradford Kaims – Clean, clean, clean.

After a busy week here at the Bradford Kaims, Trench 6 is now in full swing. Within the trench we have as many as four burnt mounds (prehistoric rubbish dumps primarily consisting of fire-cracked stones – associated with heating water) along with an extensive preserved wooden platform. Students and staff alike have worked tirelessly to remove backfill, trim weeds and on occasion even get a trowel in hand for a light clean.

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We have been lucky with the weather this week with the sun bearing down on us everyday. While excellent for all of our tans, this has made the site incredibly dry, resulting in cracking of soils and making excavation of some sediments incredibly difficult. With some rain overnight and cooler conditions today it will be interesting to see how the moisture reveals any features on the site previously obscured by dust.

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Looking to the students, we’ve had Kelly cleaning back burnt mound material. Always eager to get stuck in, Ian excavated down one of the sections of the largest mound in order for Lawrence, a keen photographer himself, to photograph the material underlying it. Our fourth student, Ryan, has been demonstrating his skill and care in section cleaning, helping us try to understand the various layers and deposition events within the burnt mound.

Along with learning in the trench, Project Officers Tom Gardner and Graham Dixon have been teaching the students how to fill out deposit/cut sheets and how to use levels in order to record our site.

We have our first finds of the season consisting of some cannel coal found at the base of one of the burnt mounds, along with three pieces of preserved wood which have tool marks and some preserved plant matter embedded into them (all very exciting!).

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In the coming week we plan to finish cleaning the trench and further uncover areas of  the wooden platform (the extent of which has been searched for by coring by Dr. Richard Tipping of the University of Stirling). We also hope to begin experimental archaeology by crafting bone tools and brewing beer. One week down, seven more to go and LOTS more archaeology to be discovered!

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