Adam…. who is Adam? Exactly, I ask myself that frequently. I’ve worked for OA North for the last 16 years in the post-excavation and publications sphere of the company, but I am also part of the team that works on setting up blogs, social media, and the website, and today I had my final little trip up to the Duddon Dig to see how it has all been going!
The weather was baking hot, my car claimed over 30 degrees, and Jeremy and Debbie, who told me this was the first day the volunteers were still sat in the shade at the end of the lunch break, and not already up and heading back to the site, a clear sign it really must have been a bit warm!
Work progressed across much of the Longhouse close site today, despite the heat, with general cleaning back, and some work on extending the areas in the Northern and Southern edges of the site, which meant de-turfing, and clearing out the bracken rhyzomes and cobbles, which was tough going in the heat!
The guys at the southern end seem to have found the edge of the flattened off area of the platform, which the large curved stones seem to form part of, as here the ground noticeably dropped away and was less stony. Hopefully more work tomorrow will confirm if this is the case!
Jon, Liz, and Roger were continuing to clear out and clean back the central area, including some fairly stubborn tumble in between the larger boulders; not easy work in this temperature!
On the North and North-Eastern edges of the Longhouse close trench Faiqa and Imogen, made todays major ‘find’, which thankfully gave me the almost obligatory pun title; a small fragment of iron, possibly a nail.
To finish the day off Debbie flew the site with the drone, which meant the volunteers got a slightly earlier finish to clear the place of bodies!
My primary purpose for the visit was to meet some of the volunteers, and get some ideas of who they were, and what made them get involved, and get some stories off them, that I hope to share on the blog fairly soon.
One thing that strikes me every time I visit a community excavation is how many great stories the volunteers have, why they got involved, how they got involved, where they are from, their experience, and what made them take the leap. Many of these obviously relate in some way to an interest in archaeology and history, but what they take away is often much greater than that; friendships, new skills, new knowledge and understanding, and a sense of being part of something. Look out for a blog after the dig is finished where Stephe and I hope to bring out some of these stories!
Good luck to everyone for the last few days of the dig,
Today I was Jamie Lund again but without the neck brace. I hope you are recovering Jamie.
I don’t need to mention the weather. (I mentioned the weather… sorry Stephe! Adam)
Following Jeremy’s athletic and almost balletic performance in describing the site with much leaping about and pointing with a two metre stripy stick, we were already exhausted but we all plodded on as best we could.
I’d rather not mention the deturfing and opening access to more cobbles because it was too hot to be doing that sort of thing. However, as long as Lesley was wielding the mattock we had to keep up!
When we were doing the core sampling with Mairead in 2016, we didn’t get down more than a couple of inches anywhere for miles around the site. Now I know why. You’ve all seen meteorite showers and I’m beginning to think that at some time in the Bronze Age, there was a cobble shower that passed up the Duddon Valley and covered all the surfaces.
Adam came up to do some filming and interviewing and he was delighted to be promised a cow femur that I have had in the garage for years to make half a pair of Viking ice skates. He’d like to hear from anyone who can offer him another. And Faiqa did manage to find a nail so the day wasn’t wasted.
We were sent home early so that the drone shots didn’t pick out the limp bodies scattered over the site amongst the trowels and buckets.
Now you might think the professional team go back to their little house and write-up the day’s activities, but that wasn’t the case tonight as they were last seen heading off to the Gorge for a swim in one of the pools.
And, as for the day leader going home for tea and a long bath, that wasn’t to be either. I had to follow up a report about ancient trees, last seen thirty years ago, that have reappeared half a mile off the shore at Haverigg point in all this hot weather and low tides. When I eventually found the site, 40m x 20m, it was an amazing collection of stumps and trunks trapped in a strange clay layer.
What a day!