Dig Diary – Predecessor’s pier a surprise discovery in Structure Ten
Tuesday, July 18, 2023
Inside Ten work was continuing on the two later buttresses inside the central chamber when Nick J., Travis and Johanna revealed the pier on the inside of the building’s eastern inner wall.
The discovery came as something of a surprise because an already exposed section of Twenty showed a stone orthostat keyed into the same wall face.
This had led us to believe that the interior of Structure Twenty had been divided up by pairs of standing stone-like orthostats.
The presence of a stone pier fits with an idea put forward by Paul Durdin, the supervisor of Trench J, earlier this season, that Structure Twenty had been extended/remodelled over its lifetime.
The discovery also fits in more neatly with our overall phasing of the entire site.
In Structure Twenty-Seven, the Willamettes are fitting in really well and it looks like the enigmatic building will give up more its secrets before long.
Some of the group are working across the structure’s interior while the rest are tackling the large mound of robbing debris at its north-eastern corner (at the south-eastern side of Twenty-Seven’s entrance).
Working their way down through the debris, the area has already started producing finds, with a delighted Estella recovering two fine flint tools today.
Outside the north-western wall, Nate is working on the bone spread revealed last year. Unfortunately, it seems this might not be as concentrated, nor well-preserved, as we hoped. Time will tell.
One of the main aims this season is to get down to Structure Twenty-Seven’s primary floor and we’re hopeful this won’t take long.
Chris has been working in a sondage opened last year. In it a layer of yellow clay does seem to be building’s floor, which lies just below current surface level within Twenty-Seven. But reaching it might not be that easy because of the numerous clay deposits lying above – all of which will have to be carefully excavated and recorded before continuing downwards.
Another obstacle is the roof tiles littering the surface of Structure Twenty-Seven’s interior. Supervisor Rick and site director Nick discussed ways to deal with these quickly and efficiently.
Structure Twelve is open again and the plan is to look at various parts of this building over the next few weeks.
Today, Linda sampled the ashy deposits from the floor of the north-western recess.
On excavation this area was found to be full of bright red ash, which we think had been placed in the recess and then used as the Neolithic equivalent of a slow cooker.
Blackened circles on the ash were the remains of soot from the bottoms of the cooking pots placed in the recess.
Nearby Eleanor was investigating the “lump” – a raised area running across the interior of Twelve.
Does it represent a pair of piers associated with the building’s predecessor, Structure Twenty-Eight?
Or, as supervisor Jim has suggested, an even earlier building beneath Twenty-Eight.
The bets are on. Watch this space for further updates.
Last, but not least, Jan was looking at Twelve’s south-western corner recess. We had thought the bottom of this area consisted of levelling deposits laid over the top of the remains of Twenty-Eight.
It now seems, however, that these deposits relate to activities at the end of the building’s primary phase.
One thing is for sure, we’ll be keep our eye on events in Structure Twelve!
Between Structures One, Eight and Twelve, Deely and Lena have been giving the central paved area a good clean ahead of a drone photography session. It was marvellous to see this section of the trench positively sparkling in the mid-afternoon sun.
Nearby, and between Structures One and Twenty-Nine, Emma has opened a small section to investigate the relationship between the two buildings.
She exposed some of the foundation slabs of Structure One and the results confirmed our interpretation that both buildings are roughly contemporary, both built around 3100BC.
Over in Structure Eight, the hearth overlying the remains of Structure Seventeen has been completely excavated and sampled and was removed by Tom and Ceiridwen this afternoon.
Its removal revealed more of Structure Eight’s southern predecessor.
More of its northern predecessor, Structure Eighteen, has also been exposed, with Rowan working away in her sondage to the north-east of Eight. We reported previously that Rowan had revealed not only the eastern end recess of Structure Eighteen but the building’s narrow entrance.
A new arrival today was artist-in-residence Diane Eagles, who joins Jeanne Rose and Karen Wallis on site.
We’ll be back tomorrow with more news.