Monday, May 24, 2010

Digging, day two

After a solid night's sleep and another massive breakfast I started the hike for Vindolanda at about 9:15. My right forearm was aching just from holding the camera, so I wondered how much I'd be able to do. It was definitely a little cooler than day one, with the sun making occasional forays through the cloud and morning mist. Here's a view of the Twice Brewed Inn as I left:

One of the fort diggers took me the last half mile, so I was ready to go by about 9:40. In my 10x12' rectangle Beth and I spent most of the day taking the bottom down another 4 inches to slightly more clay-like level. Fortunately, the pain in my arm seemed to be mostly due to overly aggressive work with the spade during de-turfing on day one, so the more delicate work today didn't cause me as much discomfort as I'd feared. Pottery (all Roman this time) popped up a bit more frequently, as well as a big hunk of a broken Roman brick (below, this was taken at midday).

Beth finished uncovering what was clearly a Victorian field drain, marked by a well demarcated line of yellowish clay, probably with a clay pipe buried a few feet further below. Here's how things looked overall in the early afternoon:

Just as I was finishing off the last piece to finish out this level I spotted a black semi-circular object, this turned out to be a decorative piece, possibly jewelry, made of jet. This was the find of the day for the team and got its own collection bag:

Another notable find in our section was a couple of big chunks of Roman amphora, which Beth found as she started to drop a meter square hole in one corner to see what other much deeper levels might have in store for us:

In the last 45 minutes of the day I began pushing the level down about another 6 or 7 inches to a more definite clay level, revealing little pottery. The northern end of our set of trenches that yesterday revealed a much different looking clay beyond a rough line of medium sized stones, seems to be turning into a naturally occurring clay layer, which may not fit with us having found the ditch we were expecting. Tomorrow will probably tell us for sure, one way or the other. As I walked back to the Inn the views and roadside flowers capped off another absorbing day.

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