After some lean weeks early on this season in Trench 9 at the Bradford Kaims, things have really begun to click into gear. Once the backfill was removed and a start of season plan was completed by Trench Supervisor Tom, Assistant Supervisor Becky and students Rebecca and Miranda started to answer some of the questions posed at the end of last season. One such question was related to the stakeholes. By cleaning up and redefining the ones found last year, it was found that many could no longer be seen and so adjustments were made to new plans in order to correct this.
One of the main features of Trench 9 last season was the Burnt Mound and so after extensive sampling and recording of it, it was able to be excavated to reveal what lay beneath and how it fit into the stratigraphic matrix for the rest of the trench. During the excavation of the mound, there was found to be lots of charcoal pieces, fire-affected stones, a large piece of flint debitage with negative flaking scars (found by student Rebecca), as well as a small fragment of shell. When the Burnt Mound was fully excavated it was found to be overlying three separate layers, one of which covered the majority of the area underneath. This was a heavily organic and peaty layer, which after being cleaned up, photographed and recorded was also excavated and contained a large amount of wooden fragments, charcoal, a small piece of flint debitage (found by student Rachel) and a number of small and well-preserved seeds. Most of the seeds were found during the sieving process by students Fiona and Miranda. At this stage it is uncertain as to what sort of seeds these are, but they are being kept safely in storage if future analysis is to take place.
With another large context removed, the trench is starting to look starkly different to how it was last season. In the last few days, the backfill in the northern end section of the trench, which contained a large piece of preserved wood, has been removed by students Tom and Assistant Supervisor Isabelle from the Castle. We had laid tarpaulin over the wood at the end of last season in order to keep it in good condition during the offseason and that appears to have worked with the wood still visible in the bottom of the trench.
In the context lying directly beneath the heavily organic and peaty layer, two more groups of 20 stake holes have been found. These are identical to the other stake holes that have been found across Trench 9 since the later part of last season. Once they were plotted onto a new plan of the trench, 20% of them were excavated and environmentally sampled by Assistant Supervisor Franzi and student Joe, in order to compare to those excavated last season.
With these stakeholes excavated, recorded and sampled, the context in to which they are dug will be removed, brining the trench down to the layer that contained the large majority of our flint finds from last year, some of which are Neolithic and possibly Mesolithic, so things in Trench 9 are really starting to get exciting!