First seminar for the stratigraphy team

On Tuesday Project Officer Sheila introduced the Tuesday group to the basics of on-site recording and planning, and to the methods used in the post-excavation stage to analyse all the data and create the stratigraphic relationships that can tell us the story of the site.  There are thousands of plans and sections of the many prehistoric and Roman features that were excavated over the 11 seasons at Marcham, and tens of thousands of context records – a formidable assemblage for a complex and fascinating site!   Initial checking work has already been done on these records by volunteers at the Institute of Archaeology, and trench matrixes (a diagrammatic way of showing key relationships between contexts) have been created for us to work with in this second stage of the Trendles Project.

Sheila explained that our task over the next few years is to go through all the records and transfer the key information to stratigraphy recording forms, which will, at later stage, be fed into a searchable context database.  The information on the database is being structured in such a way as to make it as helpful as possible to all the many finds specialists accessing the site data in order to write their reports.  The work on the site records is working in tandem with that of the projects other volunteers who are identifying and analysing the pottery and animal bone, with the specific aim that the results of all the different areas of volunteer post- excavation work will inform and assist each other.

For complete newcomers to the world of archaeological recording, there was a lot to take on board, but with a few much-needed tea-breaks and some lively discussion, we managed to keep everyone awake and hopefully not too daunted!