Day 2 - Foulis Mound Excavation

Posted by Cait - 18:15 on 10 July 2011

Hello from a soggy, but happy, day two of excavations at Foulis Mound.

Whilst the terrain was much less squelchy underfoot this morning than we had left site yesterday - drookit, but happy, with a satisfying start to de-turfing Trench 1 - things got an awful lot wetter again by the afternoon.  

But, before the droplets turned to puddles, we managed to continue and complete de-turfing the whole of our 'Z' - shaped Trench and actually got down to some hoeing and cleaning back the first spit of topsoil with trowels.  Exciting for many, who had their first taste of fine excavation and began to start making sense of those 'contexts' that Cathy and Cait keep mentioning.

         Karen and Muriel at the turf pile  De-turfing Trench 1; Bramble supervising!

Everyone has been able to see some emerging definition at the bottom of the slope of the mound - a dip in the surface, into which it appears some possibly shaped cobbles are falling in.  Perhaps we have a possible surface overlaying a ditch?  Enough speculation to keep us excited, but too much puddling and general glaur (mud, mud, mud) for us to continue investigating any further today.

So, being careful not to destroy too much of this new context and in hopes that we can hold off some of the torrents of rain - the remainder of this afternoon was spent erecting a pair of gazebos over the more sensitive areas of the trench.

          Let's get these Gazebos on the go!   

Surveying of the whole site continues.  Using a Total Station to electronically measure distances and exact locations, we are able to build a digital map of the site - its shape, contours, position in the landscape and also all the interesting aspects that we are discovering, including an exactly pinpointed location for each of the finds recovered at the mound.

                                        Alpha, Malcolm and Cathy surveying

We learned more about how to record the possible archaeology that is emerging on the site - contexts, cuts and fills, samples and finds - all will be documented, photographed, drawn and indexed as we start to build a narrative of the mound's use over time.  What were people doing here, when and can we begin to understand why?  More questions than answers, at the moment, which is just as it should be.  Come back tomorrow to find out we discover next and also to hear just how those gazebos fare!  We're keeping our fingers crossed for a calm, drier night and, of course, we just know... the sun'll come out tomorrow!


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Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands (ARCH), The Goods Shed, The Old Station, Strathpeffer, Ross-Shire, Scotland IV14 9DH
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