Now we’re into the third phase of the site, we’re now wrestling with a number of features (mainly of the ubiquitous ‘pit’ variety) which has seemed to characterise a lot of the site so far.

After we stripped the site of the less interesting modern demolition debris, we first identified a couple of big layers extending across much of this part of the site Context: 1288 (at least, in the part that we’ve stripped so far). But after these have been removed we’re then faced with the problem of identifying anything as a recognisable cut feature! In my opinion this is the most difficult stage of excavation – at a level just in between the upper layers of the site and the fills of more conventional “features” below (like quarry pits for example).

In practice this means chasing edges of whatever observable differences we can find at the level we’ve graded to, recording where possible these features (like the possible timber beam slot Context: 1406 and then grading down further (by grading down, I mean digging soil!). Sometimes this requires testing by section (in order that we excavate in a chronological sequance).

So I’ve spent the last couple of days defining the extent of a dark brown silty-clay layer Context: 1454 containing a variety of Roman pot sherd, oyster shell and crumbled/degraded mortar. It seems to occupy an area roughly measuring 10m x 7m in extent. Now I’ve defined its surface extent, it is then necessary to gauge its depth – and this will be done with its full excavation as of tomorrow. The layer itself is not, in my opinion, the most interesting archaeological deposit on site, but it will be interesting to see it removed, thus enabling me to observe some darker more humic-looking layers beneath (which I observed in a test section yesterday), and link it up to some pits already excavated in this phase of the site.