Leiston Abbey Dig

Day 5 (6 by the time I post this I think) at Leiston Abbey and with Dig Ventures – which is actually day 3 of week 2 for everybody else and I am having a ball as we say.

Leiston Abbey, Suffolk
Leiston Abbey, Suffolk

I did have some expectations as to what a archeological dig would be like but not to many as I simply did not know much about it – apart from watching Time Team of course.

So let me start by saying that I utterly enjoy myself here – the comradeship of the people – professionals and novices alike. The information and knowledge that is out there and readily given – and questions answered – not matter how dumb they may sound to the experts. The Campground and the Wattle and Daub – all these things add up to a great experience.

planning lesson in the courtyard
planning lesson in the courtyard

We even do some actual work:-) So far they have opened 7 trenches in 4 key areas of the Abbey Site. I have only been involved in two of those so far – in the lumpy back field – where they had no results whatsoever on their Geophysical survey – but did find possible medieval pottery and prehistoric worked flint in some ditches.

Kerry explaining his moat trench
Kerry explaining his moat trench

On Sunday I learned how to use my trowel and about trench etiquette and what else goes on in a trench.

On Tuesday then I and the other “week venturers” started to learn how to properly clean a trench and sections – using all sorts of tools – starting with a spade and shovel and the weapon of choice a mattock. Now there where some people who never held a spade in their life – so for them it was a bit of a challenge (to say the least).

possible post hole - the dark brown stain in the lighter soil
possible post hole – the dark brown stain in the lighter soil

However during the cleaning (troweling back the top layer) I discovered a “possible post hole or two” (yeah – how exiting!) – we’ll be cleaning that trench again today to see if it is still there and then have a closer look. That is after our second planning lesson with Raksha.

We had a first planning lesson yesterday – but that was in the garden and some of our group (me included) took to it like ducks to water – but others did not and really struggled with the concept of graph paper and measuring devices and in particular with the terminology – such as baseline, datum, tbm, bs and ih – easy right – you all know what a plumb line is?

Dumpy Level lesson with Raksha
Dumpy Level lesson with Raksha

Anyway – we took longer than we thought and consequently did not get to do the real thing in our trench – but will start with that this morning.

We also had a special Masterclass with Adam last night in night photography – the one on general archeological photography will be later today. That was utterly superb – I learned so much in those one and a half hours about night photography – unbelievable! I hope to have the same results today.

Night Photography Lesson
Night Photography Lesson

There are plenty of things going on in the other trenches of course and more about the whole project and daily video blogs can be found here:

http://digventures.com/

Also it was Mick Aston’s funeral today so most of the people who knew him personally and even the ones who did not but knew about him where a little down all day.

3 wise men and a woman in a ditch
3 wise men and a woman in a ditch
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4 Comments

  1. Sounds awesome Rita – as you know I love archaeology also, but never had the chance to actually participate in a dig. Lucky its not flooding there!!
    Glad you are having such a great time.

  2. I will immediately grab your rss feed as I can not find your email subscription link or enewsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly let me know so that I could subscribe. Thanks. fbedkdcgaede

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    1. Thank you John! It’s been only a year and only when I am travelling really – but I try to keep everybody up to date with what I am up to:-) I sent you a invite so you should receive the regular updates from now now.
      Thanks

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