Coming back here to Leiston Abbey to dig with Dig Ventures and is just like a big family reunion. Yes there are some faces missing and we made new friends already but generally we all know each other already and it feels good right from the outset to have such a great group of people trying to reach a common goal – which is of course to find out more about our monastic site.
Firstly a bit of housekeeping: I would like to embed some more links again but I have a feeling that either wordpress has changed something or my tablet is not up to the task this time around – I can add the real link but not the title and it makes the page look rather strange in my eyes – so perhaps when I highlight the items that might be of interest to you – google them yourself this time – I am sorry (if you have the answer to my problem feel free to contact me with it)!
Back to days 1-3 of this years archaeological dig at Leiston Abbey in Suffolk. Day one usually starts with introductions, explanation of the things and trenches to come and generally getting back into “dig mode” by cleaning up the machine dug trenches. The weather looked like it would play ball (unlike certain football teams) and we where all very excited to get back down to business with our trowels.
However – first we used heavier tools such as spades, shovels and the trusted mattock to clean the sides of our trenches – to get a nice clean start. This year we will have some new and some extended existing trenches where we did not get all the answers last year.
English Heritage administers this site (though being in private ownership) and they had their budget cut – so instead of fields looking like lovely meadows we were greeted by almost waist-high jungles of grass and weeds – had to make some pathways to have easier access to our trenches.
Half way through day one Joan, one of our “repeat venturers” found herself a coin during troweling trench 10 – it turned out to be no coin per-say but a Nuremberg Jeton. Great – finds like that on day 1 can only hint on what else is there to come.
However – our day got a bit of a damper – literally – as the heavens opened and from then on it was more like a mud bath than a walk in the park. Thankfully everybody brought their water proofs – a new word I learned – we call it rain gear..
Day 2 and the heavens looked not very inviting – neither did the weather forecast for the rest of the week and even worse at home back in good old Russell New Zealand where a massive storm brought destruction, power outages and flooding.
We managed to clean up trench 1 (yes last years trench 1 just extended) before the wind and cold got to us. So the afternoon we spent in the 16th century barn learning more about the new technologies we’ll be using this year to record our findings – yeah – welcome to the 21st century. So we are now also the “digital dig team”.
Basically what this means is that we will record our finds on a cloud based system – either by using tablets or even our smartphones. Exciting new world out there and we are all glad we are part of this pioneering enterprise. We also managed to fit in a little refresher on levels which was great fun again.
It ended up being a rather cold and miserable day followed by an unsettled night with heavy winds that even took our welcome tent away and did not let me get any sleep at all.
However – day 3 delivered the goods – at least for me. We finally got into our trenches – we discovered some “features” the day before and now it was time to explore those in more detail by digging them.
I was given the task of excavating a “linear type feature” with a first time venturer so we got straight down to business and found loads of broken up tiles and bricks and then (drumroll now) – a lead musket shot (or so we think) and a little while later a glazed high status tile fragment. Those finds made my day and will be recorded in my digital dig profile (link to follow once it’s “life”).
I did not find anything (or almost anything) last year – remember the disappearing post hole from last year (see blog post from July last year) – so this was the best day ever – so far:-)
More to come in the following days and you can always join the digital dig team (well worth it trust me) to be here in real-time from the comfort of your home. Just check out :http://www.digventures.com/ for the details.