St Marys Headland, Seaham,Co.Durham, UK
Archaeological Dig - August 1999
Day 3 - Wednesday 18th August 1999
09:00. It rained almost non-stop overnight but the ground at the site is still quite firm. As promised the JCB digger was on site bright and early though the rain seemed set to stay. A new face on site today was Fiona Macdonald (small "d" notice). She was very easily recognised by a bright (almost gaudy?No) hat in the style of those worn by Tibetan monks. Not to be outdone, Liz, who has a certain commitment to the red & whites, donned her red Sunderland AFC hat and a broad smile as she remembered the wonderful goalless draw she watched against Arsenal last Saturday.
09:05. It was with some trepidation that the inexperienced among us watched the JCB begin extending the excavation of Trench A. We need not have worried. The driver worked carefully and accurately and the whole group was soon convinced that there was no risk of damaging any skeletons which might be hidden beneath. Indeed the main reflection concerned the speed with which the machine moved the earth compared with yesterdays efforts with shovel and trowel. All the while the rain continued to fall gently.
09:45. The JCB has completed its work on Trench A. In order to ensure that the possibility of damage to any skeletons was minimised the machine left about 4" of earth above the level of the previous finds here. So the group working on Trench A are soon back on their knees scraping away at the surface.
09:50. The JCB has stared work at Trench B now. The team are trying to identify the nature of a ditch-like feature which appeared on a magnetic scan of the area which was made before digging began.
10:00. The JCB has left Trench B which
will now be discontinued and is at the edge of the Flower Show Field just
north of St Marys Church. Jim has decided to open a new trench (Trench
4) here. It is hoped that excavation here might give some clues about
previous building at this location though he is approaching this with an
open mind. In the event a trench 5mx2m reveals a lot of relatively
modern (perhaps Victorian) building rubble down to about 60 cm. Though
there is a lot of sandy ground beneath this level surrounding an interesting
darker, linear feature which will need further investigation. No bones
are revealed in this trench but it is interesting to note the large number
of worms living in the earth from which the dark feature is composed.