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Practical Archaeological Excavation Techniques, day five

November 5th, 2008
post #134   history / prehistory »

Morning, Sunday 2nd November. Weather: cold, but sunny.

Today I resumed my trench section recording. As before, the section is tidied up. Having not had the chance to write up my test sheet from the 31st I started afresh to do sheets for contexts 2917, 2918, 2947 and 2948.

For each context I had to produce a drawing of the section, both in plan and in section. The plan drawing I placed leftmost and marked the position of the site grid, direction of North as related to the plan, and the edges of the trench. This is simply to locate the section in the trench for the benefit of the post-excavation examiner.

The Section drawings mark the positions of the features, includind adjacent contexts, text descriptions of the features such as stones, sand, gravel, the position of the surface and the current level of the trench floor, orientation N-S, and dimensions of the features.

Measurements over 9cm are recorded as metres (0.10m for example), below that they’re recorded in millimetres.

One of the last things to do on each sheet was to record the matrix information. The matrix often refers to the material of a fill but in this instance refers to the most likely chronology of a context and its surrounding contexts.

Similar to a family tree, the matrix is recorded as boxes connected by lines with the context numbers within them. In my section, the fills are marked highest (first) on the sheet, beneath which they are both connected to the cut, as that preceded them. The iron rich context 2918 was difficult to place, firstly because it is not a conventional fill but an area with an appearance altered due to other contexts. Its appearance would be the result of the cut (in that water rushed through the cut, depositing iron), and could be contemporary with or long after the fills.

Finally, the few cleanings the section had had revealed the possibility that it linked to an adjacent feature. The supervisor advised me to note the observation that they could have a relationship, whereby the cut of one appears to cut into the other - a drain cut across a drain perhaps. All of this information will be collated in the post-excavation stage to try and understand the site as much as possible.


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