Thursday 25th July, 2013
Back again to my little section on site, I’ve started to look at my little area as my own personal site that I will miss a lot!
After extended the section it was time to review what we had found. Unfortunately rather than making it easier, increasing the size uncovered more complications! With Mat, we looked at the sides of the section to see what information the stratigraphy (different coloured layers on the side of the section – a bit like the cream and jam when you cut a piece of cake) could tell us. It became clear that there were a series of floors that had been cut when graves have been buried in this area of the church. To test this theory I removed a layer of dark material which, from the side, appeared to be sitting on top of a lighter, sandy soil. I did this carefully with a mattock and then carefully removed the last parts with a trowel. This proved a good idea as this revealed another earlier floor surface. As I moved further down my section to remove the remaining dark clay layer, I was surprised to reveal a skull. Using a small trowel I carefully removed the soil. I could tell from the sound that the skull was intact as the earth around it made a very hollow sound. Looking around the skull it became clear that I was beginning to excavate a grave rather than bone that had been removed from elsewhere. Rather than remove the skull I stopped removing the earth around it, covered it with a finds bag to protect it from the loose soil I was moving and moved on to remove the dark layers of soil elsewhere in my section. Once I had done this I cleaned my section. This is done by very lightly trowelling back all the loose soil from the surface, being careful not to remove more layers. By removing the dark layer and cleaning back the section it confirmed our initial theory that what was happening in my little section was that I had uncovered a series of floor levels that had been cut through by successive graves. Unfortunately, as it was the end of the week it was too late to fully excavate the graves that I had uncovered, but it felt great to finally make sense of the different layers that I had uncovered in my section and to know that the information I had uncovered would help towards the overall picture of the site. Now that we had established this, the next step is to record what I have found. This would be my activity tomorrow.