Tuesday, 30 July 2013

30 July 2013, Hickleton Hall POW Project Day 7

There was a great turn out on site today, people seemed to keep popping up whilst we were waiting for Colin and the van. There was: Chris, Alex, Kate, Phil, Jade, Anita, Lauren, Connor, Russell, Vince, Sue, Anne, Sue, Peter, Martin, Shell, Helen, Margaret, Lesley, Robin and Martina! The best turn out yet!

After listening to Colin's relaxation tapes on the way to site, the day began with yesterday's geophysics team heading back to the south of site to crack on with the survey whilst the rest of the team were given a levelling exercise by Phil and Alex.

Everybody got to have a go at reading the level staff and taking the heights at pre-determined points across the concrete base. It takes a while to get used to how to read the staff and the levels, but the volunteers soon sped up!

Then it was time to start reinstating the first base we had uncovered. This boring work unfortunately took the rest of the morning.

But by lunch it looked like we had never been there... It may not look so great, but the field is only used by cattle and we only needed to avoid them slipping on the concrete:

Then Andy called in with his doomsday device, AKA a Total Station Theodolite. He works for Leica and wanted to help by demonstrating how archaeological features can be recorded electronically. We are really glad he did as it saved us a lot of time and will be really helpful in the post-excavation work!

Here, Margaret is using the hand held GPS device to locate points on the concrete bases so that we can tie them into the Ordnance Survey national grid:

Not everything is electronic, however, and we still needed to use our hands. We had discovered the clinker layer for hard standing outside the hut marked as the Transport Officer's quarters on the camp map. These features needed to be recorded, so Russell, Shell and Helen cleaned the area back and got the stones ready for photographs.

As it was only a quick trowel back, it didn't take very long and the area was photographed for the archive.

But the stones also needed to be recorded by hand as well, so the plucky three set about drawing the line of the kerb. It was Shell's first time at drawing, but she soon picked it up!

And a 1:20 scale plan of the kerb stones started to emerge (she only had to use the eraser a couple of times...!):

Meanwhile Jade and Kate cleaned up the various features that were visible in the base, like the wall partitions and the infamous 'sink':

Again, these were all recorded by photograph and now this hut base will be ready to clean and record fully in the morning. This is how the 'sink' looks now:

The grids were being eaten up by the fully professional geophysics team at the south, a lot can be completed in short time when people gain some experience in these things!

Phil took the rest of the team and started work on the third base; the C.S.O. Nissen hut. They cleaned off the edges of the feature so we could define it's extent:

Sue cleared the rest of the concrete path, this will be recorded with the rest of the base later. Interestingly the path stopped only a few meters along its length. There is a possibility that there is another, as yet unseen, path that it joins to; but we will have to wait and see if we get time to investigate this possibility:

Phil also put a small sondage at the side of the structure to try to understand the construction technique clearly. It appears that the bricks were laid on top of a lip of concrete, which was below the modern ground level. Phil intends on putting a couple more of these sondages in to confirm that the lip runs all the way around the building.

The rain hit us at about four just as we were packing up, so that was a  lucky escape! We still have quite a bit more to do, like recording and a little bit more digging, but we are on target to have a better understanding of the site and the features within it!

If you are interested in joining us, please feel free to come along, just let us know you are coming, or you can follow us here on Facebook and Twitter.

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