I finally finished my last test pit in Folkestone! As much as I've loved this project I am pleased that we've wrapped up the excavation side of things, not just because the weather is now turning chilly but I have long neglected other projects which I am excited to be getting back to. I will be doing bits and bobs but no further excavation.
However, we now progress to the next step in the archaeological process which is finds processing, data entry, analysis and writing the report. We take all the information gathered on site - our context sheets (which have of course been filled in!), our photographs, our finds (all washed, weighed and analysed), our drawings and sketches, and any other information we might have gathered - and we then write our interpretations based on the evidence we've gathered over the excavation season. This is the first time I've written a report. I've seen them but have never written one. Report writing is generally given to senior/supervisory staff, who may not have even been out to the site they are writing the report on, and to be let loose with one is a great step forward in my career.
I am to write up all of the test pits dug during the A Town Unearthed project. There were 3 done in 2009 in the east Cliff area, 5 done in 2011 on The Bayle and then my test pits which finished a couple of weeks ago. I was concerned that my record keeping would not be up to scratch but looking back over the records kept of the past test pits I didn't need to have been! Please don't misread my comments and criticisms as applying to any person, or group of people, but in archaeology you do sometimes get sparse record keeping - maybe there were time pressures (very common), the weather might have been too poor to fill the sheets in outside - and people forget to go back to up date the records. As not all archaeological sites are written up immediately after the excavation finishes it may be months or even years before the gaps are discovered but by then it's too late, people have forgotten and the archaeology has been destroyed.
Luckily for me there were aspects of the records, like a scaled drawing on one pit and a filled in context sheet on another, so was able to spend some time piecing together the missing gaps from the photo record and am now in a position to begin writing the report!
I'll keep you all posted, although it's not the most exciting thing happening.
And before I forget, we made it to the papers with our work with the school!:
...to be continued...