Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Digging Deeper

Back to Trench 10, and it was all about stratigraphy (the formation of layers of earth). And more glass. The whole trench was divided in half, so that comparisons could be made of the features and the layers in the excavation unit. I was located in the middle sections of the hut which had layers of grey clay and yellow clay. Normally once you reach the yellow clay, no more archaeology is left to discover. We had to discover whether this yellow clay was an artificial substance or a natural one, so we kept on digging until we could find more traces of archaeology. The more we dug, the more we realized that the clay was probably natural, and that's as far as we could go. After hours of slicing the clay with a trowel to unveil its stratigraphy, some intriguing pieces of wood appeared. 

Pieces of wood, in line with the drain on the right, suggesting some
connection. This was taken after the wood was removed.
 (photo by author)
Notice the yellow clay surrounding it, and the pointed wood
(photo by author)
As you can see from the image above, there were three pieces of wood that we discovered. This led us to consider whether there was a connection to the drain pipe on the right. After defining the area, we carefully removed the pieces and put them in a plain bag for analysis. Obviously they were very delicate (and reminded me of chocolate flakes!), but towards the end of the day, I uncovered a piece of wood probably about 2-3 inches in length and began to remove it. The more I removed, more kept emerging, until we discovered the wood was placed in a vertical position, suggesting we had discovered a post hole/stake. This made us question whether it was another part of the structure of the hut, and if it was at all connected to the pipe. But after a whole day of not finding anything,  but scraping tirelessly at the clay, this had made it all worth it. 
(photo by author)
Do you remember the brick formation that was discovered in the extension to this trench, by the pathway? Well, it turns out it did have a pipe underneath it! So it could have been a shower unit, a drainage system or a sewage system (hopefully, not the latter...). 

Contrast of the stratigraphy (photo by author)
This photo above, perfectly illustrates the outcome of the day on site. The pink string helps to focus attention on the different features of specific areas of the excavation unit. Again, as you can see on the left, yellow clay is emerging as well as what looks to be some sort of curb with the large bricks. This seems to be the road which divided the huts. At the very end of the day, an exciting piece of evidence was uncovered in our trench - a military badge! Whilst uncovering all this World War One evidence, it occurred to me that it's a shame that no evidence of Navvy occupation had yet been uncovered. As they surely had to adapt also to a sudden change in their lifestyle, with their livelihoods being put on hold. Perhaps something that needs to be looked into more is the Navvy life before they are forgotten?  

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