4. Recent Excavations

 
 
 
Map of site with all the trenches marked on. Grey trenches are Clark's excavations, blue are those dug in 1985/9 and those in red are ones dug since 2004 by the present team.


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The Recent Excavations

In 2003 and 2004 the area was fieldwalked and testpitting undertaken. The sub-surface topography was mapped by a close interval (10m) auger survey and for the first time it was possible to demonstrate a highly variable sub-surface microtopography. This work revealed extensive lithic scatters across the dryland areas.

In the summer of 2006 two larger trenches (SC21 and SC22) were placed to the east of the Clark's and the 1980s excavations. Worked wood and red deer antler were found in SC22, demonstrating the continuation of unusual deposition to the east of the 1980s excavations. The antler was poorly preserved, demonstrating the deleterious effects of drainage on this field.

In 2007 a trench was excavated on the dry land part of the site (SC23) and another placed near to Clark's excavations (SC24) in order to assess the state of preservation in this area. Very little bone and antler was found in SC24 and what was discovered was in a bad state. This included a "jellybone" which had lost all of its mineral content. All the antler was severely flattened. In the dry land trench we found extensive flint scatters and some bone fragments, but again this is badly preserved.
 
Further excavations in the summer of 2008 on the dryland trench produced some more exciting finds including evidence for a structure with postholes and a hollow in the middle. This is the earliest "house in Britain".  Work was also carried out north of the Herfortford cut revealing the site extends even further than previously imagined.

Due to our discoveries that the site was badly deteriorating a couple of English Heritage projects were undertaken to assess the nature of the deterioration and to monitor the watertable and assess the hydrology in the field. Excavation was not permitted in 2009.

In 2010, we received permission to carry out some more excavations in the waterlogged areas of the site. This includes re-excavating one of Clark's trenches, the trench A excavated in 1985/9 and SC24- to assess the state of preservation of the platform and artefacts. During this season we discovered that the worked timber platform extends much further than previously thought - possibly as much as 30 metres along the edge of the lake, though this can only be verified through further excavation.