After the excavations were completed in 2002, the land was restored by carefully back-filling the spoil. Nevertheless, last year’s trenches are clearly demarcated by the abundant poppies, which have flourished on the somewhat looser soil.
In terms of the weather, the first week of excavations was pretty awful – Monday and
Tuesday were completely lost to the rain, and only on Wednesday could we start our work in the
trenches. The excessive rainfall has contributed to the creation of temporary ponds on Sutton
Common, with an abundant (and fitting for a wetland) wildlife.
The opening up of the trenches started on the 24th of June, and will be completed by the end
of this week. As was the case in 2002, once the c. 30 cm ploughsoil is removed, the
archaeological features are clearly distinguishable as darker areas.
The western part of the larger enclosure is much dryer than the eastern half, due in part to their relative height (with the western ramparts c. 0.5 m higher than the eastern ramparts) and in part due to the draining effect of the Hampole Beck palaeochannel. The western half of Trench 5 is currently the driest, occupying the highest spot of the larger enclosure, and by Wednesday the excavations were here underway.
We are excavating nine ‘extension trenches’ to explore the area in between the larger enclosure and the Shirley Pool/Rushy Moor SSSI wetlands to the east and the area directly north of the larger enclosure. Some features have been identified outside the enclosures (but whether these are of Iron Age date remains to be proven) and await excavation.
This year, we will be fully excavating the eastern entrance of the larger enclosure. The terminals of both inner and outer ditches will be excavated, and the large timbers, used for the entrance itself, will be retrieved for dendrochronology.
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2002: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6
2003: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6