Geomorphological Survey at the Bradford Kaims

 Anna Finneran, Coring Supervisor and PhD Candidate, University of Durham

In 2017 the Kaims coring team has benefitted from many dry days, and persevered through some soaking days. Here’s a quick update on the accomplishments of Dr. Richard Tipping and field school students this season:

The Bradford Kaims branch of the BRP since 2010 has conducted a landscape-scale interdisciplinary investigation of a large fenland associated with our archaeological sites.  Excavations have uncovered multiple burnt mounds, structural remains, and artefacts.  Human activity spans at least the Mesolithic through the Bronze Age.  The features and material culture represent an industrial area.  Conspicuous in its absence, however, is evidence for domestic activity in the landscape. In contrast, palaeoenvironmental reconstructions present a rich aquatic environment, characterised by two large lakes throughout the Holocene and populated with unique flora and fauna, potentially attractive for long-term habitation.  The landscape surveys this season have sought to look beyond the Neolithic and Bronze Age by incorporating geomorphology, geophysics, soil micromorphology, and excavation to describe both the natural landscape and the human activity throughout the Holocene.

The main aim of the 2017 season in terms of this geomorphological mapping was coring and sediment description at locations known to contain or likely to contain layers of colluvial accumulation (or slopewash). Colluvial accumulation would result from episodes of erosion on slopes descending towards the fenland basin. Geomorphological analyses from previous seasons concluded that no natural sediment erosion occurred on steep slopes around the fenland. Any erosion on gentler slopes may then be ascribed to archaeological, and potentially agricultural, activity.

The coring team conducted coring transects across the landscape, inserting a metal tube (or sediment core) into the soils and sediments of the fenland and its surrounds, to chart the different types and depths of material.  We successfully identified layers of colluvium within layers of peat, representing episodes of agricultural destabilisation of the slopes, at numerous points. Following reconnaissance, five locations were selected for a combination of analyses including soil micromorphology and pOSL analysis (see Becky Scott’s blog in a few days for more detail on this!).

Another aim of the geomorphological investigations in 2017 was working in tandem with Graeme Attwood’s magnetometry survey to define buried anomalies. Coring and sediment description preceded excavation of 1 x 1m test pits over the most promising anomalies. The anomalies to the NW of Trench 6 proved to be burnt mounds, as hoped. However, the anomalies in the form of two parallel lines between Trenches 11 and 9 were found to be ditches for Victorian age drainage pipes.

Richard

Despite our pipe-related set-backs, one lost (but later retrieved) core, and numerous small injuries and sprains, the coring team successfully completed our aims for this season with positive and encouraging results for the future. Next season we hope to continue to investigate the natural landscape and the human impact upon the environment throughout the Holocene, and hopefully use the analyses of colluvial deposits and the dating material provided by the fenland to gain a more in-depth understanding of how people across the Bronze Age and Iron Age influenced their landscape.

Archaeomagnetic Studies at the Bradford Kaims

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Sam Harris, Doctoral Research Student – University of Bradford

Firstly, it is purely coincidental that I study in Bradford (West Yorkshire) and am coming to take samples at the Bradford Kaims. As an archaeomagnetist, and we are pretty few and far between, it is always amazing the variety of sites that you get to see and work on. Having parachuted into the Bradford Kaims trenches for the second time, this site is no exception in its wonder. Placed at the edge of a fen, the variety of soil and sediment types on site is impressive! This offers the perfect opportunity for archaeomagnetic studies.

For those that aren’t quite sure what this odd science (magic) is, you are welcome to peruse my website, which is listed at the end of this blog post, for some answers. Simply put, the Earth has a magnetic field which varies over space and time. A record of the past geomagnetic field can be found in the in situ remains of hearths, furnaces, or other anthropogenically fired features that we as archaeologist excavate on a regular basis. Archaeomagnetic studies seek to improve our knowledge of past geomagnetic field changes through the analysis of this material. Why though, I hear you ask…

This is because we can use the knowledge of geomagnetic fluctuations over time to conduct archaeomagnetic dating and gain an idea of the last time that some fired archaeological features were heated. Having a dating method which directly relates to an anthropogenic activity, rather than to the end of an organism’s carbon absorption for example, is a powerful tool for the archaeologist.

Archaeomagnetic dating was first attempted at the Bradford Kaims in 2011. While the study was successful and the date recovered for a fired hearth feature in Trench 6 (c.4350 cal.BC) was considered accurate given other artefactual dating evidence for the site, newly acquired radiocarbon dating evidence suggests that the calibration methods used for the archaeomagnetic dates produced erroneous results. This was due to the use of an experimental and alternative calibration model from outside the UK, as the current UK calibration model does not stretch back into the Bronze Age or before. This previous study, and others since, have identified the need for further work to be undertaken. This is where me and my PhD come in! My main aim is to improve our understanding of geomagnetic field change during prehistoric periods, but particularly the Neolithic.

At the Bradford Kaims this season, I sampled two features associated with the Bronze Age burnt mounds, both of them interpreted as fire pits containing fired stones, burnt sediments, ash, and charcoal. These features will provide good radiocarbon dating records, alongside the archaeomagnetic signatures for the fired subsoils within and below them.

Thanks to the Bamburgh Research Project’s excellent radiocarbon dating programme at the Bradford Kaims, the fired archaeological features that I can archaeomagnetically study will have independent dates associated with them. By building up a number of well-dated features in this way, a new calibration curve for the UK can be created, with the Bradford Kaims being a central case study in this process. Through the combined use of radiocarbon dating and archaeomagnetic dating on prehistoric sites like the Bradford Kaims, we can gain a more nuanced understanding of their chronologies.

Sam’s website can be viewed at; www.neolithicarchaeomagnetism.weebly.com

Sam’s Twitter can be viewed at; @Archaeomagnetic

More Bronze Age Pottery!

In a previous blog post, we shared our exciting pottery find from Trench 6 at the Kaims site: a single rim fragment of cord-impressed pottery with a tentative Bronze Age date.  In our 4th week of the season, a further 21 fragments turned up in the same area!  The find included two more rim pieces, four with cord impressions, and 17 undecorated fragments of various sizes from (we believe) the lower portion of the vessel.

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Pottery fragments lying in situ in Trench 6 before excavation

After giving the collection a gentle wash, we were surprised to see that on the surface of several of the fragments are what appear to be small finger nail impressions running in horizontal lines in the fired clay.  They don’t appear to be intentional decoration, so they could be marks left by the vessel’s Bronze-Age creator during the forming process.  If after further analysis our suspicions are confirmed, this would be very exciting for us, because this find will be a rare glimpse of an individual person’s fingerprint on this landscape.

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Pottery fragments after washing

When the new pottery was compared with the original fragment, we found that the three rim pieces fit together, along with the remaining two decorated pieces.  This gives us a much more reliable idea of the possible size of the vessel, which might have had a rim as wide as 45cm.  Right now we think we might have the remnants of a very large bowl or jar.

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The 5 decorated pieces that fit together

One fragment revealed another feature of this vessel: a thin, raised band of clay running along the middle of the vessel, right at the bottom of the criss-cross, cord-impressed band of decoration near the rim.

Due to the poor quality of the clay and low firing temperatures, the vessel would not have successfully held liquid, but could have been used for food storage.

Geophysical Survey at the Bradford Kaims Uncovers a Possible Prehistoric Settlement

On the 17th and 18th of June, Graeme Attwood*, from Magnitude Surveys came to the Bradford Kaims to conduct a geophysical survey of the landscape surrounding the site. The survey produced some intriguing results which provided exciting information for future excavations of the wider archaeological landscape.

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Graeme Atwood from Magnitude Surveys performing a geophyiscal survey at the Bradford Kaims using a fluxgate gradiometer.

The geophysical survey conducted at the Kaims used a hand-pulled fluxgate gradiometer, a type of magnetometer, which measures magnetism. Magnetic survey is used in archaeology as it can detect magnetic anomalies in the ground, which may indicate the presence of subsurface archaeological features. The magnetic geophysical survey investigated a total area of approximately 2.3 hectares in order to assess the below ground archaeological potential of the Bradford Kaims, conducted as part of our wider investigation of the landscape. Our investigations integrate excavation, field walking, survey and paleoenvironmental coring to evaluate the extent and nature of human exploitation of this wetland environment.

The magnetometer survey was conducted in five areas across the landscape of the Bradford Kaims, both in the wetland areas that are the focus of our current excavations and of the hills surrounding them. The survey produced a number of magnetic anomalies, suggesting that a wide variety of archaeological features are sitting below the surface.

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Map showing the five areas in which geophysical survey was conducted at the Bradford Kaims

The fifth area investigated in the survey covered our excavations on the South-Side of the wetland. The results indicated an archaeological feature which is thought to be another large burnt mound, one of the features found across this site. We are confident of this interpretation as a small portion of the mound has been excavated in previously seasons. Part of our remit is to test the accuracy and scope of the geophysics by excavating the anomalies. This is working extremely well, giving huge scope for future work.

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Results from the fifth area of survey showing magnetic anomaly 5a which has been interpreted as a burnt mound

The most exciting results, however come from the investigations of the wider landscape. The third area of magnetometry survey on Hoppenwood Bank near our area of excavation revealed positive magnetic anomalies with a strong archaeological character. Two large circular features; one measuring 13m in diameter, the other 14.5m in diameter, were identified. These circular features are similar to the magnetic anomalies produced by round houses. This suggests we may have identified a prehistoric, possibly Iron-Age settlement, at the Kaims! Within the large outer ring of what we think may be round houses, a series of smaller sub-circular anomalies were also identified. These features are between 0.75m and 2m in diameter, possibly produced by pits and post-holes which may indicate an internal structure to the large circular features which strengthens are interpretation that these may be roundhouses. The evidence that we may have discovered a settlement becomes more convincing when we consider the series of positive anomalies that have been found across the south-eastern portion of the third area. These anomalies are thought to be produced by the presence of pits and similar cut features, suggesting human activity in this area, strengthening the argument for the presence of a settlement. Settlement activity of this type is very rare in Northumberland and very exciting.

Results from the third area of survey showing the circular magnetic anomalies; 3a and 3b that have been interpreted as possible Iron-Age round houses.

This enthralling discovery has put all of the Kaims team in high spirits and we are planning to excavate the area of the settlement, next season. The geophysical anomalies identified in this survey have opened up the possibility of an exciting future for excavation of the Bradford Kaims!

*Afterword from Paul Gething: Graeme Attwood was a regular at the BRP for almost a decade. He came as a young student, became a staff member and eventually went on to run T1 in the Castle. He left the BRP to do postgrad work in Geophysics. He has returned often to visit and occasionally to do small scale work in Bamburgh and at the Kaims. He recently started his own geophysics company in Bradford, which is thriving. He went far above and beyond what we reasonably expected of him on a furiously hot few days. I have always admired his work ethic, but he surprised me with just how much he can do. It was a great pleasure to welcome Graeme back to the BRP and fantastic to work with him again and I look forward to working with him again in the future. I also look forward to seeing his business go from strength to strength.

Experimental Brewing Summary and Student Reflections

In a follow-up to our earlier blog on prehistoric brewing, these videos record a summary of the process from Becky Brummet, Experimental Programme Director:

As well as comments and reactions from two of our students who were there on the day:

Bradford Kaims Experimental Archaeology Schedule

Come and see experimental archaeology in action!

Hot rocks

Hot rocks used to heat water and malted barley as part of the brewing process.

 

19th June – Prehistoric Beer Brewing

Learn the process of prehistoric beer brewing!

26th June – Prehistoric Pottery

Using local materials procured from ongoing excavations, we will attempt to make small pottery pieces!

3rd July – Beer Decanting/TBA

If the beer has fermented sufficiently, we’ll be decanting our brew and testing the ABV (and sampling it!)! If the beer isn’t ready there may be a day of flint knapping.

10th July – Flint Knapping

Learn the basics of creating stone tools (like those discovered on-site) using flint and obsidian.

17th July – Woodworking

Learn the basics of rudimentary woodworking.

24th July – Resin Production/Hafting

We hope to create resin and use it to haft tools that we’ve made during the season.

**Activities are subject to change depending on weather conditions & ability to procure materials and/or resources**

We welcome local volunteers and community members, but for logistic purposes, please let us know ahead of time if you wish to drop by!

 

Becky Brummet

Experimental Programme Director

Email: ruthefordr22@yahoo.com

BRP Office Phone: 01668214897

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Flint blade found in Trench 6.

 

What a Year we have had in Trench 9

A final blog post from Trench 9 Supervisor, Tom Lally.

Although the 2015 Bamburgh Research Project season is now over, and Trench 9 backfilled and returfed, there is plenty to be excited about when it re-opens next year. At the halfway mark this season, things were reasonably straight-forward in our interpretation of the trench. It appeared that it would be a matter of easily removing context by context and coming down onto the natural surface. We were wrong. Since then Trench 9 has thrown up all sorts of new and exciting features and finds, which means 2016 should be a really intriguing season. Just as Trench 3 did, this blog will be split into area-by-area portions regarding the key features we found this season.

Wooded Area (NW Corner)
In my last update we had only just started to reveal this wooded area within our peat layer uncovered last season (see link below). Since then, student Tom Fox spent a week removing the peat around the wood to further reveal its extent. During this excavation he found a large amount of wood that appeared to be in alignment across the peat bog and over to Trench 11. Our initial interpretation is that this area may be the start of another wooden platform at the Kaims. This theory is strengthened by the finding of several upright timbers, which could be pegs that people used to stake down the wood to create the platform, as well as some intact hazelnuts and hazelnut shells (see link below), just like those found along the large wooden platform in Trench 6 and Trench 10! We may extend the trench around this wood next season to reveal more of it and gain a better understanding as to whether it is indeed part of another wooden platform or not.

 Student Tom planning the possible wooden platform

Student Tom planning the possible wooden platform

Mesolithic Post and Post-Hole
As was mentioned in my last blog, and in the recent blog post by Assistant Supervisor Franzi Le (see link below), our Mesolithic post and post-hole has been a rather unique find in Trench 9 this season. What started out as a simple piece of wood being revealed by student Rachel Moss during a trench clean, has now become a very interesting and important feature within the trench. Volunteer Bob during excavation of the post-hole found two pieces of bone/horn and a piece of Mesolithic flint to provide us with a date for the feature, as well as finding in situ pieces of wood within the post cut.

Wood pieces found within post-hole

Wood pieces found within post-hole

Since then we have continued to reveal around the post-hole, even extending the trench in order to find the extent. In this we have found even more sizeable wood pieces, most of which we believe to be fragments from one large post as opposed to several stakes. We have lifted several of these pieces which are being stored correctly and safely during the off-season. On further reveal of the wood in the extension, it is also starting to look similar to that of platform wood with all pieces lying down flat and all facing the direction of Trench 11. As is the same with the wood in the NW corner, this area will require further investigation next season to determine what people were using this post-hole for and if the wood in close proximity is also part of a wooden platform.

Assistant Supervisor Franzi working on the wood in the extension around the post-hole

Assistant Supervisor Franzi working on the wood in the extension around the post-hole

Mesolithic Hearth
Arguably the most exciting and most important feature in Trench 9 now is our recently discovered Mesolithic hearth. This feature was found almost by accident by student Carrington during the removal of a context above but which we didn’t believe went as deep as it did. Initially it was just a large piece of clay that came off, but which contained a heavy concentration of charcoal underneath. We were stunned at the amount present in this once piece of clay and so after further reveal we uncovered a metre-by-metre area of charcoal, which also contained burnt stones and sandstones (see link below).

 Hearth found late in the season

Hearth found late in the season

Upon further investigation we also came across a small piece of flint, believed to be a Mesolithic bladelet, which has provided us with a date for this feature, and a very small fragment of burnt bone within it! We now believe it to be a hearth used by the people of this area thousands of years ago. During the investigation we also uncovered a possible channel dug just to the west of the hearth, which may have provided a water source, and may tie into the final and most impressive feature discovered in Trench 9 this season.

Water Channel (left) and Mesolithic Hearth (right) in Trench 9

Water Channel (left) and Mesolithic Hearth (right) in Trench 9

Possible Sweat Lodge
The feature found latest in the season and that is causing all kinds of excitement for next season is our possible sweat lodge (see link below). The area where it sits was first pointed out to us by Director Paul as a possible burning pit after some discolouration became clearly visible after an overnight rain. It was noted but not investigated, until a full trench clean was conducted in the last fortnight prior to trench photos being taken.

'Burning Pit' feature when first identified

‘Burning Pit’ feature when first identified

After the trench clean, the feature began to stand out even more, and a clear ring of different coloured soil was identified. The trench clean also identified a large number of stake holes that appear to all situate within the circular feature, as well as some clearly burnt stones scattered throughout. From this evidence, it looks very much like a sweat lodge used by Native Americans, which is typically a dome-shaped structure held up by multiple stakes and covered in natural materials. The feature appears to measure 2.5m x 3m wide and is situated just up slope from the Mesolithic hearth. It is from the close proximity and stratigraphic sequence that we believe that the water channel, hearth and circular feature are all contemporary, and hence why we believe the feature is a sweat lodge. With a water source, somewhere to heat up stones, and a structure in which to sit all so close together, it provides us with our strongest interpretation at the present time. Further investigation will definitely take place in this area next season, so hopefully from that we can have a firmer understanding of the uses of these three features by prehistoric people.

The possible Sweat Lodge in Trench 9

The possible Sweat Lodge in Trench 9

As well as all these impressive features, Trench 9 is still scattered with archaeology. There are loads more stake holes dotted around the trench, some of which are in interesting alignments and may be contemporary with some of the above mentioned features. To the south of the sweat lodge are possible areas of burning closely associated with the lodge itself, as well as our Neolithic plank and stake holes arrangement discussed in my last blog post which still needs some investigation. So as you can see, Trench 9 is absolutely loaded with archaeology. It was thought that we would be able to close the trench by the end of this season, but with all these features and finds and possible features still to be investigated, Trench 9 will re-open again next season. The main focus next season will be to determine what and if the water channel, hearth and sweat lodge area are contemporary, but we will also investigate some of the other features dotted around the trench to come up with a full interpretation for the entire trench.

On a personal level, Franzi and I would like to thank all the staff, students and volunteers who have assisted us with our excavations this year. You have all been an absolute pleasure to work with and teach, and we both hope you have learnt a whole lot. We look forward to seeing you all again in 2016.

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Bye for now!
Franzi & Lally.

Amazing early find at Bradford Kaims

This is a slightly delayed post about an extraordinary find that we made at the Bradford Kaims excavation towards the end of the Summer season. It has taken some time for us to work out the beginning of a strategy on dealing with it, so we delayed announcing the news for a while as a result.

 

Right at the end of the dig, which has revealed some very exciting preserved organic remains in the peat deposits to the immediate west of Trench 6, we uncovered a surprisingly well preserved timber paddle. It was lying just on top of a timber platform, formed from round wood lengths pegged into the underlying layers. The platform would have been exciting enough but the paddle is just outstanding. We think from parallels that it may be for moving the hot rocks of the burnt mound rather than paddling a canoe at the moment. Our best dating for it comes from its stratigraphic relationship with an archaeomagnetically dated hearth. This date is further supported by the presence of a substantial assemblage of Carinated Bowl pottery. Right at this moment we think the platform and paddle are very, very early Neolithic. Making it in the order of 6000 or more years old.

 

The paddle was obviously in a very fragile state and if left to dry out it would have been lost, so rescuing it from site once it was revealed was a priority. It was lifted in a block with the supporting deposits on the evening of the 28th July. It was not an easy job, in fact we did not make to the pub for a celebratory pint till after 9:00!

 

The paddle just before it it was lifted. What may be part of its handle lies detatched close by.

The paddle just before it it was lifted. What may be part of its handle lies detatched close by.


 
Supporting the block with, timber, cling film and expanding foam.

Supporting the block with, timber, cling film and expanding foam.

Ready to lift!

Ready to lift!


 

It is currently in safe storage at Edinburgh University, and we are very grateful for their help at rather short notice. The process of freeing the find from its protective covers will start soon and we will keep you posted on developments here. The timber platform, that supported the paddle, lay directly above burnt mound stones, so lifting it was problematic. We can only hope it was successful.

 

There is more news to come from the Kaims yet, so keep an eye out for further updates.

 

The first Article on the find has been written by Tony Henderson of the Journal.

 

http://www.thejournal.co.uk/news/north-east-news/bamburgh-archaeological-dig-unearths-stunning-6196560

 

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Meet the Staff of the BRP 2012: Bradford Kaims

As part of the lead up to the 2012 dig season I have asked my fellow BRP staff members to give me a few lines about their hopes for the archaeology and the project as a whole in 2012. We have already heard from Gerry and Graeme, our Project Directors, so today we hear from the Bradford Kaims staff. This trio consists of Archaeology Supervisors, Graham Dixon and Neal Lythe, plus Assistant Supervisor, Jackie Scott.

View of the wetland site

Graham 

To see Graham’s staff profile from last year click here

While daunting at first, and confusing to the last, I have always been drawn to the Kaims from my first year with the BRP. Now another season approaches and the excitement starts to build. Needless to say with the staff and setup, this year promises to be the best year yet for the Bradford Kaims (bold statement, I know). The interest that has built around the site over the last year has been phenomenal. More than I imagined it would at the end of last season. This can only mean good things for the Bradford Kaims. I am hoping it will allow us to be allocated more tools and students on a regular basis!

Neal and Jackie are welcome members to the Kaims staff. Jackie worked on the Kaims before even me, and I know Neal’s background at the Castle will not bias him against the glorious prehistory.  I know Jackie will be the same as me, wanting to put those damned paved stones into some sort of broader context, i.e. “what the hell are they?!”

Graham unearthing the unusual stone feature in 2010

Most of all, I am looking forward (there I said it) to teaching all you new and enthusiastic students with a thirst for knowledge. The ones we still have from last year seem to be all worn out…

Neal

To see Neal’s profile from last year click here

I’m looking forward to this season, as it will be opening a new chapter in my Bamburgh experience. After 7 wonderful years of working in the Castle and 6 years as a supervisor in Trench 1, I will be moving onto all things pre-historic at the Bradford Kaims. Its a new challenge for me as I will be over-seeing the running of the Bradford Kaims excavation on a day to day basis, this is due to the fact that this year we will be opening up more trenches over a wider area. I am looking forward to working with Graham and Jackie and I know we will make a great team and have some crazy archaeological experiences along the way, getting ourselves entrenched in archaeology.

This year we will have a brand new site office in the form of a bell tent, something which a certain Mr Dixon would have seen as a God-send during last seasons excavations. I will also be in charge of the Kaims own mode of transport, as the power that is the Blue Landrover is back to do the Kaims’ bidding and power through the dirt to get to site.

This season is going to be epic and I cant wait to see what the Kaims and the Castle produce this season. Awesome!!!

Jackie

Jackie is one of our new members of staff, so he doesn’t have a profile…….yet.

Looking forward to getting to grips with all the new developments that have been going on at the Kaims since I was last there. Particularly keen to see some clarification of what might be going on in T6, which I helped open two years ago. The exact nature of that stone feature has been bugging me all that time! Also looking forward to opening more test pits to see what else we can find under all that clay. Beyond that I am pleased to be have the opportunity to spend a full season on the project rather than the few weeks I have managed the last couple of years and finally being able to leave essays, seminars and dissertations behind me when I complete my degree shortly before the season starts.

Well it sounds like the Kaims has a good team this year and we will be blogging and tweeting as we dig to keep you all up to date.

Bradford Kaims Update and Video Overview of the Project

Project Director, Graeme Young, brings us up to date on the work and the involvement of volunteers at our prehistoric wetland site out at the Bradford Kaims, west of Bamburgh Castle.

Graeme’s Report

In the last couple of visits to the site at Hopenwood Bank, near the Bradford Kaims, we have been trying to improve our understanding of the sequence of events that go together to make-up this rather enigmatic site. At the moment, having cleaned and examined the old sections, I now think that we have two layers sealing the fired stone feature. These are in turn covered over by the soil profile that extends up to the present turf line.

Of the two layers that cover the stone ‘hearth’ the most interesting is the dark layer that contains huge amounts of charcoal and fractured stone and that directly overlies the hearth.

The ‘hearth’ feature freshly unearthed in 2010

It is tempting to assume that it represents, at least in part, the charcoal and ash from fires that once burned on the hearth, but the truth is we have no evidence for the date of this layer and indeed the way in which it buries the hearth, putting it beyond any effective use, could well indicate that it is a later event. All we can really say is that it is very unlikely to be modern, as we would have expected to have found some trace of pottery or clay pipe by now if it was. I suspect we will have to wait till we have a carbon 14 date to resolve this.

The pit feature, located close to the east side of the hearth, which we cleaned last time has been half sectioned and recorded in the last two visits.

The pit being excavated and recorded

The section of the excavated pit, facing north. The feature may represent a double post-hole.

It is quite a substantial feature surviving to a depth of 0.25m, but is likely to have been somewhat eroded so was likely deeper. It has a rather dumbbell shape, which makes me wonder if we could have a double post-hole, or a post that was re-set. We will have to keep our eyes open and see if we can find more of these features. Could we for instance, have a structure of some kind around the hearth?

As well as working on the main site we have been cleaning and investigating the narrow trench excavated as an extension to the west, into the area of the lake margin. We had previously identified the top of the peat horizon, and this has made it clear just how close the main site lay to the lake edge. We have now started to use coring to further explore the relationship of the wetland deposits to the dry land to its east.

Coring within the trench extension, the main excavation area in the background.

The first two cores were located at the western end of the narrow trench working from the deeper deposits back to the dry land. We are using a 2m interval between the cores. This has already been informative as we have seen a substantial shallowing of the layers of peat and sediment we encountered in the two cores, even over this short difference.

A detail of the second core, showing something of a slope in the sediment and peat layer. This might be indicative of rather steeply sided lake edge.

This suggests the edge of the lake is quite a steep bank! More coring next Saturday should help us confirm this.

Below is video taken from our Winter Lecture Series, which briefly outlines the volunteering opportunities with this project.

More volunteering dates to follow and a sample of the photographs taken by volunteers.