St Marys Headland, Seaham,Co.Durham, UK
Archaeological Dig - August 1999
Day 4 - Thursday 19th August 1999
08:30. There has been torrential rain overnight. It just stopped a few minutes ago but according to the weather forecast rain is the order of the day and the wind will be stronger than recently.
Jim confirmed that Trench B would NOT be discontinued as we reported yesterday. Instead, there appears to be features in both Trench B and Trench C which merit further investigation. They might indicated a feature such as a ditch. If they do then that may be of significance since no such features are show on any of the old maps of the area.
The main work of the day will be focused on Trench A. All the skeletons will be further exposed and one will then be exhumed.
09:30. The rain started in earnest again at 09:00 but the delicate
task of exposing the skeletons continues unabated. Why couldn't the
dig have been carried out in July when the weather was beautiful?
09:50. The rain begins to pour once more. It looks set for the
day. In Trench A they have been progressing steadily but the rain is too
heavy to continue so its into the PortaCabin for the time being.
Diagram showing position of skeletons in Trench A.
Skeletons have been added which were found later
in the dig.
11:30. Still pouring down but the TV camera crew arrive from Tyne
Tees Television. They interview Niall and Jim as the others work in
16:10. Despite the conditions Jim and Jo will go ahead and exhume
skeleton A2. It is not a simple matter of throwing a few bones into a plastic
bag and hoping that you can remember where the go when you come to reconstruct
the skeleton. Both Jim and Jo in terrible conditions manage to complete prepared
forms to indicate the way the body is lying and includes a whole host of
detail. A grid is used to help with the drawing and measuring rods
are laid out on the ground to indicate size and photographs are taken to
record the scene of the exhumation. A string is stretched between head and
feet to gain a more accurate idea of the height of the person. The
use of buckets to support the grid may seem crude but the archaeologists
are good workmen (and women) who know how to use simple tools to very good
The tasks being carried out in the pictures above may not seem too tedious
but in cold and rainy weather many would have given up for the day.
The example set by the professional archeologists is commendable nor were
the volunteer team found lacking in stickability.