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Excavating and Fieldwalking: 1 October

Hello ! The lovely weather compels us out into the field. We are either going to excavate or fieldwalk, depending on popular demand. The digging will be at Chesterfield where we have a wonderful cluster of Early Mesolithic material. Not far from Paxton we recovered a polished axe, probably of Langdale Tuff, the other day, so there is plenty of nice material in the area ! As ever, we rendezvous at Paxton House at 10:00.

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Back Into the Field

After an hiatus, we shall be back in the field next week to begin exploring the Mesolithic site at Chesterfield and to undertake widespread fieldwalking. Apologies for the delays–we have been processing the data from the excavations at Fishwick and catching up with the paperwork that we produce. Tentatively, then, we shall be in the field digging next weekend (1 – 2 October) and fieldwalking through the week.

 

With Best Regards,

 

Kristian

Chesterfield: Excavations on 10 September

Hello everyone,

It looks as if we have a good Saturday, so let us take the opportunity to shake the cobwebs off and do some excavation at Chesterfield Farm, where there is a large concentration of Early Mesolithic material, which is quite unusual in Scotland and should be of considerable significance. The work will involve digging small test-pits and ascertaining find densities in the topsoil. Beneath these, presumably, are features. This approach is rather different from that we employed at Fishwick, as the features are likely to be far more ephemeral at Chesterfield.

The forecast for Sunday is not especially good, but we can modify the scheduling and include this day if the weather seems to improve. For those of you that are keen on pursuing more excavations, or rather like the substantial structures, Chris Burgess and the Flodden 500 team are out this weekend and shall be excavating for a while. The details are below:

iFlodden Website
As ever, our rendezvous is at Paxton House at 10:00. If you can, bring a shovel, and do not forget your foul weather clothing, a flask and something to eat, albeit we are not in an especially remote location.

With Best Regards,

Kristian

Chasing Mesolithic Sites

Hello everyone,

After a bit of a summer break, we intend to be in the field at Chesterfield the weekend to begin a serious study of the Mesolithic. The weather is very slowly becoming more stable, so let us hope that these episodes of rain and gales will become less common !

With Best Regards,

Kristian

Excavations Resuming Next Weekend

Hello !

As the weather is spotty this weekend, we shall resume investigations next week. One of our targets will be the Mesolithic scatter at Chesterfield Farm, which has become more interesting in the light of Lizzy’s investigations at Callarburn in North Northumberland. We intend to use largely the same methods, so some direct comparison will be possible. The overall paucity of such studies across our region makes any excavations of profound importance. Moreover, there is so little research being done on the Mesolithic in the British Isles at the moment that we cannot help but to contribute significantly to the data-base.

We are also looking at the possibility of exploring an Iron Age site near Hutton. The forecast is, at best, spotty this weekend and it is probably wise to wait to begin our studies until the crop is down on the fields of particular interest. Please remember that Lizzy’s excavations are still on this weekend, so do feel free to contact her and dig on the much better drained sands and gravels !

 

Moving to New Sites, Other Digs !

Hello everyone !

We shall not be excavating this weekend, as Lizzy is investigating a wonderful Mesolithic scatter and we do not want to draw manpower away from her excavation. I hope that next week we can have you out to investigate not only our own Mesolithic scatter, but the Iron Age enclosure outside of Hutton. I shall keep you abreast of our plans and the scheduling of these excavations. The poor weather has caused the farmers immense grief, as harvesting has had to be postponed because of the frequent rain.

If you wish to visit Lizzy’s excavations, here are the details: Excavation at Callerburn Farm Braxton (FH Site 3) 20th -28th August (Subject to the crop) This email is a call for volunteers who would like to join the above excavation taking place between 20-28th August on Flodden Hill, Site 3 as part of the Flodden 500 Archaeological Project. This is a separate excavation from those scheduled on Site 2 in September of this year and will examine a concentration of prehistoric chipped stone tools discovered during fieldwalking in 2009. The excavations will be led by Liz Young a post graduate student from Newcastle University. Everybody is welcome and no previous experience is required, however, places are limited to a maximum of 10 people per day so booking is essential. The excavation will explore, Flodden Hill Site 3, a raised area in Field1 at Callaburn Farm which produced a high concentration of chipped stone tools (flints) during fieldwalking in 2009. We will be excavating test pits to see if we can find any contemporary prehistoric structural features associated with these chipped stone tools. The site day will be from 9.30-16.30 with a morning, afternoon and lunch break, but hours are flexible as necessary and volunteers can attend for a day or the whole week as their time allows Please be aware that the dates are subject to the crop being taken off the field so start and finish date may change, we will keep in touch with volunteers by email. All volunteers must be up to date with tetanus vaccination and will be required to join Till Valley Archaeological Society as fieldwork members (£2 for the year) to be covered by excavation insurance. To book a place or if you have any questions please email Liz at lizzy.young@btinternet.com or Chris Burgess at Flodden500@Gmail.com

 

With Best Regards,

Kristian

Closing Excavations at Fishwick

Hello everyone,

We have experienced an atrocious week, with persistent rain almost every day. This has slowed down our progress at Fishwick and unfortunately left our students losing their minds whilst washing finds. Nonetheless, if the Met Office can be believed, the conditions will improve for the weekend. It is our intention to undertake the final recording of the site at Fishwick and finish dismantling the cist, transporting the stones and samples back to Paxton House for further investigation. We hope to soon begin the investigation of the Early Mesolithic site that we identified through our fieldwalking assays earlier in the year. This will entail a rather different form of excavation, namely, we shall sieve the topsoil and expose the underlying sediments this way rather than stripping the site with a mechanical excavator. The reason for this is that, because of the slow soil development in the Late Glacial and early Holocene, and the periodic reversals, it is possible that the original cultural deposits have been obliterated. Because we are unaccustomed to sieving in the British Isles, relying more on machines, the absence of much of the evidence from these remote periods is possibly attributable to our disregard for the topsoil. We shall therefore be utilising rather unusual techniques in our study and hope to set a new precedent for investigation of the Late Glacial and early Holocene in Scotland. Finally, in addition to the newspaper articles on the excavations, we were filmed by ITV Borders. The URL for the ITV coverage has moved, so you will have to look it up on the ITV Borders web-site. Below are the other media links:

http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scotland/Bronze-Age-find-shines-a.6813264.jp

http://www.berwickshirenews.co.uk/news/local-headlines/skeleton_find_at_fishwick_1_1766048

As ever, we shall rendezvous at 10:00 at Paxton House unless the weather turns on us yet again.

With Best Regards,

Kristian