And so, a few weeks have now passed since we have left the field and the Red Kites have returned to dominate the skies. Once more they soar majestically over the now stubble fields, looking for mice, voles, shrews and even young rabbits and hares.
The monumental task of ‘de-camping’ the site was completed like a well-oiled machine with the small team left on site. The marquee was emptied of all the chairs and tables, then taken down, washed and packed away. All the tools and wheel barrows were cleaned, greased (to prevent rusting), counted and stored all ready for next season. The hired-in cabins were emptied, cleaned and the electricity connections uncoupled ready for collection by Carters. All the food from the fridges and freezers was consumed during a couple of BBQ evenings, which allowed the catering team to carry out a deep clean of the kitchen. All was completed within record time this year which allowed us to vacate the site on the Tuesday. Thanks go to everyone who helped us achieve this in such a seamless way. The site has once again been restored to the tranquil place that it is for most of the year (well except that the shooting season has now started!).
However, the work of SHARP does not finish at the end of the season, far from it! We now have all the post-ex work to be completed, reports to be written on this years' findings, and then preparations will commence for next year – Easter field walking / post-ex work, and next years' dig season. Make a note for your diary now…..Day 1, Week 1 of Season 24 is Sunday 30th June 2019. Bookings are now open so get in early and guarantee your place!
The malting complex in Trench 23 is going to take many years to excavate fully. We think we have now more or less completed the excavation of ‘Malthouse 1’. The importance of what we are excavating means that we need to share it with the wider world sooner rather than later. The post-ex work for Trench 23 will begin to pick up pace in a few weeks' time when several members will reconvene in the Old Village Hall, to start discussing the write-up and way forward for the trench. A leading Anglo-Saxon journal is keen to take a full excavation report on Malthouse 1. They have given us space for up to 15,000 words – hopefully we will be able to write a stratigraphic narrative in draft ready for publication in the next few months. We are also planning to use the opportunity to have a sort out and inventory completed of the records held in the OVH, and getting more of the paper records digitalised.
Finally - photo of the season shows a very rare event...Neil filling in context sheets!