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A tale of two hearths

More new arrivals today but old hands not new volunteers: Karla, all the way from New York and straight into a photo clean:

And Rose from considerably nearer home, wearing her anti-cleg defence long sleeved shirt as she get a horrible reaction if one of the little beggars bites her, and today they were coming right into the trench with us instead of staying up in the long undergrowth. Rose was busy half sectioning one of the hearths in the hope that there'd be some suitably burnt clay underneath for archaeomagnetic dating.

She then moved on to give Alan a hand on his iron smelting furnace...

...whilst Dr Cathy Batt took some samples and trained two of the Bradford students, Lucy and Alex, in the sampling technique. Just in case you're not up-to-date on the ins and outs of the technique, there's a handy guide on the University of Bradford website.

Much better burnt clay was found under one of the the hearthstones in structure 5

It was Cathy's last day with us so she wasted no time in getting in to sample it for us, since it was so good they ended up taking 20 of the little sample pots, all carefully positioned and marked.

Lucy also took a series as part of her training, the little pots have to be pushed into the ground perfectly level, which is why Lucy is using a piece of perspex with a little bubble level on top to press them into the ground. Once they're in place you mark them up with magnetic north using a compass, then dig them out and pack them up to be taken back to the lab.

Cathy is away back to Bradford tomorrow taking the samples with her, so hopefully we'll get a decent set of dates out of them.


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