Friday, 18 April 2014

18 April 2014, Barnsley Pals Project, Day 5

The sunny weather came back today and it brought out a good team of volunteers! We had a chap called John who's great-grandfather had served in the Barnsley Pals and had actually trained at the camp, so it was nice to be able to introduce him to the areas his ancestor would have known for a few months one hundred years ago! The work on cleaning the ablution blocks continued with most of the volunteers working on the central base.

This is the base with the interesting feature at the end, we realised that the two blocks either side of this block are much smaller with different features identifiable in the concrete. It may mean that this central block is for a different purpose than that of the other two, maybe a large shower block, whilst the other two house sinks? It is still too early to make conclusions however and the team has been mulling over these questions whilst they work.

The blocks appear to sit at the end of the marks in the grass that show where the barracks huts would have sat. You can see one of the marks below, the faint outline of a rectangle can just be seen in the darker green grass. There are at least six of these marks, along with six ablution block bases, so perhaps each barrack hut was served by a single ablution block.

Eight more grids were covered in the geophysics survey, we have completed nearly half of the total grids so far, so we are well on target at the moment!

Then at lunch the team had a well earned picnic break!

Cleaning of the third hut base that we are looking at in this work continued as well, this one is more overgrown than the others, so will take a little longer to complete.

However, some more features were quickly seen in the concrete, like these post holes, possibly for internal frames and the like.

On the central base a small pipe was discovered, set into the concrete, maybe this was a structural pole or a water pipe. It is difficult to know precisely at this stage without taking up some of the base to see where the pipe runs.

Amongst the finds today was this seasonal offering...

With work on the top base completed, it was photographed (while the sun lasted!) and the following pictures clearly show the features that we have encountered!

This is the drain outlet, possibly running to a soak-away.

The internal row of postholes that may be for a frame.

The second base was almost finished by the end of the day as well, so there is only the large amount of foliage to remove on the third base before we can record them all in correct archaeological fashion.

Another great day in the sun and lots of work finished off. Today we also had a visit from a young boy who, since talking to us about the First World War and the work we are doing, has given up his dream of being a footballer and now wants to be an archaeologist!!

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