End of Leiston Abbey dig thoughts

When I left Leiston Abbey yesterday I could not shake the feeling of sadness (for a great week came to a close) but also happiness because it was such a great experience (highly recommend it if you into your history).

So let me go back a little before I head forwards again. I wrote the last entry here on the morning of our photography workshop with Adam Stanford from Aerial Cam and what a great afternoon that was. I learned so much about my own camera that I now want to put all this new found knowledge into practice:-)

photography lesson with Adam - it's all about the shadows...
photography lesson with Adam – it’s all about the shadows…

He also indulged us in a evening lecture about his work on Rapanui/ Easter Island – needless to say with some great photographs again.

taking precise photo's of each trench is very important
taking precise photo’s of each trench is very important

The next day however it was all hands on deck for some planning in the moat trench with Kerry and some digging and cleaning in trench 3.


Planning is a interesting thing – basically one creates a drawing of either the surface or the section (or cut) of a trench to record what is or is not there. Loads of tape measuring involved and some very expensive paper and ONLY 6H pencil…

Trench 3 nice and clean including prehistoric ditch in the foreground
Trench 3 nice and clean including prehistoric ditch in the foreground

“Cleaning” on the other hand involves a trowel – as in the cleaning of a flax bush – this is more or less the same principle – one tries to “clean” something up so one can see what is useful there… hard work nevertheless and I might just dig a “test pit” in the garden to practice some trowel action….(not sure what the neighbors would think about that).

Dog Skeleton - more like a hound really
Dog Skeleton – more like a hound really


So we did dig and clean our prehistoric ditch – the post holes we thought where there – where no longer there after a good clean though – so rather disappointed about that.

Plenty of other things happened elsewhere on the site as well – in trench 7 they found a dog skeleton and some coins and in trench 1 they proofed that those ditches (one of which we where digging in trench 3) really where pre-historic. Good stuff as Brendon (the boss) would say.

14th century coin - find of the week
14th century coin – find of the week

Saturday we also had the “end of dig” party – in memory of Mick Aston it was a “striped jumper” party – if you ever watched time team you’d know why. There where plenty of sour looking faces in the morning and still quite a bit of work to do – so copious amounts of coffee where needed that morning to get most people (not me) through the day – actually funny to watch if one has a clear head..


End of Dig party - Striped Jumpers - Hugh & Emily got the best colors...
End of Dig party – Striped Jumpers – Hugh & Emily got the best colors…

Most people left Sunday morning – others Sunday evening and only a handful of venturers and staff remained till Tuesday – and we had to backfill 3 trenches by hand as a result…..may I say that I have not done so much shoveling (backbreaking!) in such a short time frame and in such a heat in a long, long time – we where all buggered after that (for lack of better word).

Water spraying - cooling down while backfilling trenches
Water spraying – cooling down while backfilling trenches

I am still sore two days after…and the blisters on my hands are just starting to heal.

Generally I can say that it was a great experience, not just for the digging and the finds (or lack thereof) but also for the people – who where all there for the same reason and therefore all in the same mindset. I hope to stay in touch with all or at least most of these new found friends and also I hope to perhaps do this again some time.

Sizewell Beach near Leiston Abbey
Sizewell Beach near Leiston Abbey

Anyway – I left the UK without any further incidents (as in accidents with trucks:-)) and are now back in Dresden where finally the summer did arrive. Just as well as I had a massive mountain of washing to do and plenty of “office” and admin stuff to finish and needed to book a new rental car to (needless to say I did not book with Hertz – just in case they thought – oh that one again – she is going to wreck the car…). So Avis it is this time around and I’ll pick that one up tomorrow.

Fergus the site dog
Fergus the site dog

The plan for the rest of this week is some relaxing, some more photography and some friends visits – so hopefully more things to write about soon.


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