I visited Must Farm!

Luckily for me I was invited to go along to a little friends and family open day at  ‘Britain’s Pompeii’ (Daily Mail, 2015).

Back when a pipeline was being put in place and fragments of wood were pulled up in the foot wide trench, it was recognised to be something of interest, a note was made, should the quarry ever decide to extend, and in 2006 when a quarry expansion was planned the true identity and significance of Must Farm was revealed. Trail trenches were excavated and a plethora of late Bronze Age artefacts were retrieved, leading to the open area excavation currently taking place.

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Gone is the outstanding view of the Whittlesey McCain chip factory, a warehouse has been erected, water sprayers and scaffolding are at the ready. The site, being done by CUA, has been running since July 2015 and they’re now in the fight for more time (hence all of the outreach and open days to spread the word of site significance).

Three roundhouses (in blue), a palisade (in red) and a causeway (in green) have been revealed. The largest of the houses being almost 16m in diam. The three houses seem to be contemporary, or at least burnt down at the same time along with the palisade, but the causeway being around 100 years earlier.

The site is dated from 1300-1200BCE. All manner of specialists have been out to have a looksee, including, of course, those Flag Fen folks. Next week they have a shiny person going out to analyse and conclude whether the houses burnt down by accident or by arson. As of yet they’re keeping all of the specialist comments under wraps but a couple tid bits of gossip made it out. The content of the pots discovers in 2006 revealed food remains, a bizarre concoction of nettles and grains, I decided on a form of nettle bread and my housemates parents on nettle porridge; a well preserved box was lifted a couple of weeks ago and the skull of a child (no other bones) has been found under what appears to be the remains of the outer wall of the largest roundhouse.

The site looks good in the photos which have been spread across newspaper headlines and the bbc, but it can’t really compare to the reality. Stumbling across this open expanse of wood and you would think it freshly hewn and put together, bizarre levels of preservation! But here are a few of the best bits:

 

The largest of the roundhouses. (Note the half closest to the camera has started having its burnt down roof removed.) The palisade enclosing all 3 roundhouses, you’ll have to forgive the oblique section shot, but you can see the depth of the posts, they conducted a test and when the clay is wet the posts can be driven directly in without the need of cutting a posthole first, remains of the wattle and daub walls, having fallen inwards, every part of the house has collapsed in on itself, suggesting the fire started from within and the roof joinings, the one piece of wood has had a rectangular hole cut through its centre and a second piece of wood pushed through, the construction techniques show true wood working mastery.

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It seems I have been busy…

It is bizarre to think that a large chunk of time can pass without even noticing… that has just happened to me!

So the work in London is almost through. You may have seen us on the news, read the articles and heard the rumours. But it is true, the burial ground in completed and we are currently making a dash for the finish line through the last of the Roman archaeology.

It has been a blast working in London. The big smoke.

The archaeology is complex, the layers intermixed beyond identification and the people have been amazing (well most of them, ha!)

Interestingly though.. and the real point of this blog today is that it truely is the diggers market out there right now! Do not be lured by the offer of long contracts and fake loyalty! We were told a few days ago that we shall likely end early and that of course leads to the hunt for new work.

I was a bit slow on the dash to the laptop and the bajr website, mostly because I am in the rather fortunate position of having never really burnt my bridges with people I worked for (minus one horrific mistake of a company, but as they don’t even make it on to my CV they don’t count!) I know that with a couple of phones calls to various areas across the country I can be on site and in work on the Monday.

But anywho… I digress. Yes it’s a diggers market out there. There is so much work on the go and companies are desperate for staff. I sent out 3 CV’s yesterday and last night one company got in touch with a staff form to fill in and I got the offer of a contract from a different company this morning.

By Jove… archaeology is actually healthy in the UK right now! Get those CVs out there folks!

Being mistaken for a tramp…

So my break from work the other day was a bit of a malarky.

I was meeting someone for coffee during my half an hour off, but I couldn’t bare the thought of going out in my orange get up. So as I wear leggings under my PPE trousers and normally only have my hi-vi vest over a couple of vest tops I thought “I know… I’ll take my boots downstairs and chuck my PPE off and change my shoes and I’ll look almost human, just with messy hair”

So I took my boots downstairs, left them at the side of site, break time comes around, my planned changing area is filled with eager-eyed visitors to site, so I pop out the gate and in through the next one to the designated smoking zone, there were two workers in there but, what the heck, when a girls gotta change, she’s gotta change.

I looked at them, told them “thing’s are about to get weird, but just go with it”

Their reply was simply an intrigued look as I reached for my shoe laces and proceeded to rip off my site boots and PPE trousers, I told them not to look so happy, they weren’t about to see anything exciting, to which I got back “Oh but just think that this is Barbados!”

Anywho… in clean shoes, my leggings and vest top off I trotted to meet a boy at the coffee shop. Ordered our drinks and went and sat on the steps of the train station listening to the busker (started with Pink Floyd… devastatingly went to Oasis afterwards!)

While sat on the steps of the station a beggar starts going around to everyone asking for money. The cheek of it! Looked at me and clearly decided that by my appearance (even with clean looking boy on side) that I wasn’t worth the asking. I was almost insulted! I normally resemble a chimney sweep as I’m leaving site, but still!!

After I went back to work I was telling my colleague Rose about this and thank god, something funnier happened to her!

She explained that one day she left work and was waiting at the barriers for her boyfriend to come through, she too wasn’t looking magazine ready. Sitting there waiting… someone threw a £ her way! Probably thought she looked like she could use a hot drink! ha! So as her boyfriend walked through the barriers she ran up to him and said more loudly than necessary “See I’m not a tramp! I have a man”

And THEN after these discussions, I left work, once again having removed PPE, I had made the attempt to wash my hands and face, but lets face it, miracles can’t be made in the small cubicle toilets at work. I was tired and when I got outside to wait for the barage of colleagues who all travel home together, I decided to squat leaning against the fence of site.

I got some funny looks and as one of the supervisors came out of the building I decided to stand up so that I could talk to her face to face to say Ta Ra, she asked me what I was doing, so I quipped “thought I better stand up before someone mistakes me for a tramp”… man in suit walking past laughs and says “good idea!” GOOD IDEA!? By Jove sir!