13th April 2005 - Dodging the showers at High Pastures

Posted by steven on 13/04/2005 at 07:56 PM

Four seasons of weather in one week has resulted in a limited amount of work being undertaken at the High Pastures site.  Read on for an update of work carried out in Trench 2.

Since the last update for fieldwork at the High Pastures excavation we have had to put up with some unsettled weather, with rain, hail, snow and strong winds - and a little sun!  On several visits to the site during the past week the rain has formed small ponds in Trench 2, making excavation difficult and on some days impossible.  However, we have managed some progress - finished removing spit 3 from context C203, have recorded this surface and are now ready to remove the next layer from the fill of the former entrance into Bone Passage.

During the removal of the last layers from context C203 we recovered a few finds including sherds of decorated and undecorated pottery, several pebble tools, fragments of burnt bone and charcoal.  In the SE sector of the trench Martin uncovered a large lump of burnt wood, which may be part of a structural timber from the site.  This may be the remains of a wooden post however, we have to investigate this further in better weather conditions.  Nearby, we also uncovered an arc of stones that may be part of an hearth setting.  Significant amounts of charcoal were uncovered in this area along with dumps of fire-cracked stone.

Trench 2 now comprises two identifiable halves.  The SE sector comprises the buff-coloured sediment, which contains fragments of charcoal and burnt bone, which may comprise an occupation surface.  Now this area has been cleaned back there is little stone on this surface, although the odd fragment of fire-cracked stone is pressed into it.  Moving to the NW there is a marked change with the buff material giving way to a dark, organic-rich matrix that has significant quantities of fire-cracked stone and pebbles.  Some slab-like stones are all tilted down in a NW direction, which is possibly related to slumping of material in this area above what should be the in-filled original entrance into Bone Passage of High Pasture Cave.  The next few days, given good weather conditions, will be crucial in helping us to determine the nature of this fill and how it possibly relates to the archaeological deposits we investigated in Bone Passage in 2004.

Therefore, visit the website regularly and we will provide updates as soon as we make further progress in Trench 2.  The image below shows Martin Wildgoose recording the surface of Trench 2 after the removal of context C203 (small puddles excluded!).

The image above shows Trench 2 from the SE, with Martin planning the NW end.  Marked is a line showing the present boundary between the buff sediment and the shaft fill; the arc of stones possibly relating to a hearth setting; an area of paving (P) uncovered below the wall (W) at the NW end of the trench; and the stones found angled into the shaft fill (S).

Next entry: 17th April 2005 - Edge of entrance shaft found

Previous entry: 6th April, 2005: A return to winter conditions at the High Pastures excavation

Posted by on 22/04/2005 at 07:50 AM

Sandy, have a look near the caver - you should find the way on.

Posted by on 19/04/2005 at 07:00 PM

Hello to you all at Uamh An Ard Achadh

There were four seasons on the last day Mike and I dug in the trench (4th April) but the week before was glorious. 

Last visited the site on the 9th April to find large puddles in the trench, a pool around the cave entrance and water rushing through the cavern below.

The paved arc of stones was evident and seemed to go under the wall.  that buff coloured clastic clay was certainly sticky but was it imported.  There are very intersting different soil features ion the area and I would think a little puzzling to work out.

Back in Cambridgeshire the magic lingers on and I can’t wait to now access the next entry and see the entrance to the main shaft of the cave exposed. 

I hope to have better luck today as the last email to you all didn’t feature on the site.

Congratulations to Steven on what is one of the best archaeological web sites to access.

Best wishes to you all


Posted by on 16/04/2005 at 01:03 PM

confused Hi Steven, have you finished painting yet?  Excellent site, very detailed, professional and interesting.  Keep up the good work.  One small problem; on the virtual tour, at stage 4, I clicked on the box and was taken back to stage three.  I’m dying to get to the end, so can you help me!

I hope it’s not raining next week.  Hope to see you when you have made an accessible path.
Good luck, Sandy.

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