Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Holy Shit Find of the Season

This week was rather uneventful. We ate at pubs and had fish and chips a lot. So much so that Saturday night was the first time I had something prepared in the campsite and not in the pub with the exception of BBQ night which is Monday nights.

I was at the Kaims every day except Friday. On Friday I was at the castle doing environmental which meant floating soil samples and sorting the heavy residue from samples that had dried. The information that comes out of this process can be very interesting but actually sorting the material can become rather dull. You sort bones, shell, rocks and whatever other material is in the sample in to piles then bag and weigh each category. Floating is also not all that exciting, you have your hands in a freezing cold float tank rubbing soil and clay between your fingers to break it all up.

Saturday was the exciting day. I was back at the Kaims with more supervisors than students. We had been having a good week for flint finds especially but I hadn’t found anything really noteworthy. I had been cleaning back trench 42 and cleaning and planning trench 55 all week. On Saturday I was back in trench 42 just cleaning back the top soil off the layer of stones. I had done this already for 2 days during the week with nothing to show for it except clean stones on the surface. Saturday was different however, I was just doing what I’d been doing slowly taking scrape by scrape of top soil off when suddenly something shiny and almost honey coloured caught my eye. I took the remaining top soil off with my trowel and exclaimed “Holy Shit”. I picked up the flint tanged arrowhead in shook for a second before showing the guy beside me then calling out for the lithics expert to come over. Krisitan asked from across the trench what it was and was in disbelief when I said it was an arrow head. Neal, the archaeology coordinator for the kaims, couldn’t get across the trench quick enough. There was so much excitement and a rush to take photos on a phone camera to send out straight away. Within an hour the finds department had requested that the artefact go to the castle straight away and so it did. 

Neal returned an hour or so later with fresh hot Scotch pies for us all. Luckily I’m one of these people who don’t give a shit about what goes into food as long as it tastes good. A Scotch pie is a pie made up of all the bits and pieces of meat that aren’t really usable at a butchers, the meat rangers from pink to grey inside and is salted but tastes oh so yummy.

We had an arrowhead come out of trench 42 for a few weeks ago but it wasn’t complete. It is rare for them to come out complete like mine did. It is also a dateable find as unlike Australian lithics the typology drastically changes through time so the size and shape of an artefacts can tell you which period it most likely came from. It’s a funny thing, I came to BRP because of the castle. I came to do historical archaeology at an awesome castle site and had no interest in the prehistoric site. I’ve ended up enjoying the prehistoric site far more than the castle site. The castle is still amazing but I’d rather walk the 15minutes through paddocks and mud down to a wet peat marsh and dig in muck all day. Prehistory seems to have become more interesting. I’d like to learn more about lithics and lithics identification. I can now identify quatz, chert and flint. Before I came I wasn’t that interested at all by lithics. Working this site, finding flint and chert artefacts as well as the stone arrangements has kind of changed my mind.

Sunday was our day off. Neal has gone home for the last week of the season which is sad. The upside however is he had a caravan which is now empty, he gave it to Jackie for the last week which means no more sleeping in a tent. We spent most of the morning packing both our stuff up and dismantling our tents. All I had said I wanted for my day off was a sleep in and a Sunday roast lunch. It seems I wasn’t to have either. I was awake at 7am even though it was still cool. Then when we went to the castle Inn in Bamburgh they had sold out of roast lunches and the other two pubs just did their usual pub meals on a Sunday L I was less than pleased. So it was a pint of Ale (black sheep) and char grilled cajan pork instead. Surprisingly I enjoyed the jacket potato far more than the pork, which is saying something as the pork tastes amazing and is so juicy. Afterwards we went for a walk down to the beach to check the castle out from the beach. 

We’re now going into the last week of the project. A lot of people left today or yesterday which is sad but not as sad as next weekend will be when the project wraps up for the season. I fly home in just under two weeks now which is also sad but at the same time I can’t wait to get home. To get back to work and pay this trip off, I hate being in debt. I’m also really looking forward to driving around again, I seriously miss my car. 

The BRP blog mentioned my arrow head but I wasn't credited. I was disappointed but I shouldn't be surprised they are also lifting photos off my facebook and using them without requesting permission or giving credit. I've now found at least three of my photos on the project blog. 

Here's the link to the arrow head posts: 

Also just for reference the Bradford Kaims is close to some holiday cottages called Hoppen Hall Cottages googleing them brings up the location of where we park but here's the link to the area on google maps.

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