Monthly Archives: September 2009

York – Week 8

Ah week 8…. the now infamous week….
Time Team

This week saw the creation of the new Time Team. OK not really. Phil Harding visited the site this week as part of a Time Team special on Vikings (out next year) which included the Hungate site. Having a film crew on site was really exciting and great fun for the trainees who were really encouraged by it. I have to admit that occassionally the filming can be a nuisance as noise had to be kept to an absolute minimum to avoid any disturbance to the microphones. This often meant the new skill of ‘imaginary trowelling’ had to be carried out to look as though you were doing something when in actual fact you were trowelling air. Yes…. tedious!

The crew worked well with everyone else though and there were no major bust ups! Meeting Phil was a highlight too – he’s such a lovely guy!

They filmed a lot inside HQ due to the vast amount of finds we had stored. The best had to be the antler.

Antler 1

For the sake of filming we laid out a table full of all the bits of antler that had come from Pitzilla. The pieces ranged from large often complete unworked antlers….

Antler 2

Through the various different stages of working……

Antler 3

And ended with some rather nice combs!

I started work on a smaller feature within Pitzilla this week with my two trainees, which looked to be a rounded pit with a possible wicker lining. The feature was uncovered after a very thorough clean up of the area after some very heavy rain.


The photo above shows the pit once it had been cleaned which revealed a number of features. The circular pit we started working on can be seen roughly in the centre of the photo, you can pick it out by following the browny wicker lining. A number of timbers were also uncovered at one end of the pit.

Although it was fun to excavate there often wasn’t enough room! The photo below shows my two trainees and myself excavating the pit whilst the time team crew film another two archaeologists revealing some timbers that were being lifted from the soil.

York 1

Once excavation really got underway the pit began to get much more exciting! The preservation levels were so high that there was a lot of organic material still surviving in the soil. Due to the good preservation we began to heavily sample. Green leaves, moss, nuts and seeds, and even some hair was found! As exciting as it was it was hard to ignore the horrific smell!

York – Week 7

Joined the York training dig on their 7th week and luckily brought the sunny Scottish weather with me. Most of the week was spent getting to know the site and all the archaeology and breaking in the new trainees. 🙂

The site at Hungate is roughly split into three areas with, separated by stone deposits which are thought to be plot boundaries of some sort. This year I was drafted to Elena’s area which was in the middle of the site with Artemi and Ben working on either side. Ben’s lot were excavating a Viking building which was uncovered towards the end of the training dig last year.

The Ango-Scandinavian Building

The photo shows the building being cleaned up to get a better idea of what was going on.

Artemi also had what looked like a possible building! No building in Elena’s area but that’s not to say it wasn’t as exciting!

A large medieval pit, later nicknamed Pitzilla, was right in the middle of our area. This feature was packed with finds including a large quantity of antler. Nearby to Pitzilla there was a lot of diesel contaminated soil which had spread over some features making them difficult to excavate. Most of the week was spent cleaning that up!

Weather was great for the week considering the team had apparently been rained off for several days before I arrived. Although it did nothing to improve my tan lines. Damn high vis vests……

More soon…..

Toilet Digging!

Spent the dig without any internet access 😦 so my mission to blog regularly has failed miserably!

York was great fun as usual though my time digging strangely focused around toilets….. From Viking cess pits to Victorian limestone chambers.

Have loads to write about York and millions of pics that I’ll add. Frantically trying to find a flat before postgrad starts.

Wish me luck!