...But not the end of the project!
Today was the last day of the excavations for Peeling Back the Layers, but it does not mark the end of the project.
In the first place, as with many things, there are loose ends to tie up. Mainly because of the weather over the last couple of weeks and then the torrential rain this morning, it proved impossible to finish off all the recording that needed doing before back-filling. I must say though, a lot did get done – I did witness Angela and Richard pinging away (a technical term) and Sue and Paul drawing sections after a successful Anglo-Spanish effort to bail out the trench first – but not all was completed. The result was that today we only actually completely back-filled one trench – Trench 3, the supposed platform for a most illusive medieval house. I must confess though, even though I say ‘we’, I didn’t actually shift any soil, except to demonstrate to the Peak District YAC how to to do it. After doing that, I just happened to have something really, really important to do back at the Studio.
The YAC showed good spirits throughout their visit even though the weather was awful when they arrived. If there was a day to put them off archaeology for life than today might have been it, what with the rain and the task of back-filling in it. But it didn’t, thank goodness!
So, there is still some recording to do and then back-filling, and thankfully Ian is happy to carry on past the end and we still have willing volunteers to help put those turfs back in place.
In the second place, we have a number of finds to process. The majority of these are pot sherds, but we also have some glass, metal and stone architectural fragments, such as the mullions (see Blog from the Cellar). We are going to input all of paper archive into an online database which we can then interrogate with ease in a number of different ways. After spending some time with Jon Goodwin, Senior Archaeologist for Stoke City Council yesterday, we now know that we have a range of pottery dating from around the 17th century onwards. They might not quite be of the Tudor date we were hoping for at the beginning of the project, but it all seems to fit in nicely with the historical research we have been doing regarding William Harrison and his house with three hearths (which may well be the reason behind the fact he ended up in debt!).
In the third place, after finishing recording and processing finds, we will be writing reports, which will be published on this website. We will then be going back into schools during the Autumn term to work with pupils to produce a comic with the aim of ensuring the whole project and it’s conclusions are accessible to a wide audience. Alongside this we will be developing interpretation boards and a ‘travelling exhibition’. There are also plans to produce a book with contributions from professionals and amateurs, volunteers and school groups detailing the project from a number of different angles.
So although one part of the project is drawing to a close, others are just beginning…