It has been a very busy weekend down at Willingham Mere with lots of visitors and exciting archaeology. Dr Steve Borham made a guest appearance and helped us to understand the stratigraphy (layers) we are excavating. This has greatly increasing our understanding of the mere deposits.
Although it is a very complex story I have summarised here...
During its life the mere has passed through several phases. It initially formed during the Bronze Age and has progressed through natural cycles of mud flat, reed bed and fen, with the rivers sometimes passing through. These are represented by the organic and silt layers that we are currently digging our way through. This then changed when the Romans built a barrier 6 meters above today’s ground level, which kept the water in and created a deep lake. This left the pale lake marl deposits created by algae. The first radiocarbon result has dated the initial formation of the Mere to the Late Bronze Age.
Our discoveries have also been pretty exciting this weekend. Not only can I reveal that the bird bone we found on Friday was coot but that we have found several more (bird bones) and some pike bones as well! The most exciting find however was a piece of wood that has been shaped by a Bronze Age person into a dowel. We have had two interpretations of this artefact suggested so far, perhaps it was a peg used to hold a boat together (not unknown) or perhaps it was the plug for the boat (unknown)! Do you have any more ideas? We do not have a photograph of this yet but it will follow soon.
Everything that we find is fully recorded, including its location, so that at the end of the excavation we have a theoretical jigsaw to put back together. This forms the basis of our interpretation. Here are some photos of the excavation and the recording process.
Creating the record
Taking the height
Volunteers at work, visitors watching and listening
Some of the weekend team, tired and happy
Guest blogger: Hayley Roberts