As was mentioned in a blog earlier this season, we re-opened Trench 42 this season for two reasons; the inclement weather had left several trenches unworkable, and the need to sample the Burnt Mound within it for Tom Gardner’s PhD. Sadly, the weather has not improved well enough or long enough for Trench 9 to continue its excavations, so Project Officer Tom Lally and Assistant Supervisor Charlie Kerwin have taken over the reins in Trench 42 until it’s completion. Initially the trench started out as a 2m x 3m rectangle, but has now expanded to a 3m x 3m square with a 1.2m x 2m extension off to the West to chase the full length of the trough.
When Trench 42 was re-opened, it came down straight onto the burnt mound again, and the trough, headed by an upright limestone slab. A 1m x 1m section was taken out across the middle of the trench, with the intention to re-establish the half-section that was excavated from the trough back in 2012, as well as removing the burnt mound material in this area to see what, if anything, lay underneath. It was not a long process to remove the burnt material, which was only a few inches thick, and so the surface below was found rather quickly. This appears to be an old ground surface, which has several post-holes and a few stake-holes cut into it.
Along with this new ground surface, the half-section and edge of the trough were re-established. It was determined that the trough had not been bottomed out in 2012, and so there was still some fill that needed to be removed and sampled before the real bottom of the trough could be determined. Once the last of the fill was removed and taken for an environmental sample, the full extent of the re-excavated trough could be seen. There was some optimism that further finds may be found in the bottom fill of the feature, as a small flint point was found there in 2012. This time around unfortunately, it was a fairly sterile fill that lay at the very bottom.
The intentions for Trench 42 for the rest of the season are to now take environmental samples, in the form of microstrat samples for the burnt mound and column samples for the fills of the trough. Once these have been taken, the rest of the trough will be excavated and recorded in full profile and plan, with the hope of finding some more neat finds in the fills. If there is time, the rest of the trench may be excavated down to our prehistoric ground surface to see if there are any further features underneath the burnt mound. Stay tuned.