Howburn Excavation Update 28 June 2009

Composite image of our second whole tanged point
Composite image of tanged point

The dig is proving to be a great success; with a further three tanged points being recovered.

First was by Mike Thornley last weekend, and his wife Sue found a nice end scraper in the same metre grid. Then Laura Conlon found one with only the tip missing but with a perfect tanged end and, finally, Fiona Christison got hers still lying in a sandy silt layer that rests upon the glacial till where it has been since the hunters left it. This one has only the end of the tang missing but with a perfect tip.

Fiona is one of the founders of the group and has been working on our archaeology for some thirty years now. So well done to the lucky three, however, everyone has now found some nice flint and numerous end scrapers have been retrieved along with countless broken blades and tools.

Volunteer Fiona holding tanged point found on Sunday
Fiona and our third tanged point.

We also started to get some debitage in situ in the sandy silt layer and numerous nice flints; most of this lithic is of a similar colour and may indicate a separate event or occasion on the site. Even more excitingly, we have managed to salvage some charcoal enriched soil patches sealed into the sandy silt layer. These were probably laid down with the flints. It does appear to be micro charcoal but if we can extract workable material, we may actually get a C14 date, the stuff of dreams.

A nice chert leaf arrowhead and a few microliths have also be recovered, re-enforcing the multi period nature of the site.

The work is now progressing into an area of deeper plough soil and the hope is that we will get more and more lithic in situ. However, the story changes constantly with the natural topography of the ground which undulates slightly between two minor summits in the field, where soil is shallow on the higher ground and deeper in the hollows.

Mike and Sue with their finds from last weekend
Mike and Sue Thornely with their finds from last weekend.

Work continues at weekends and on some evenings during the week (check with us first to let us know your coming). Over the next couple of weeks there will be opportunities to dig during the week due to holidays.

There will be someone on site Mon, Tues and Wed each week for next two weeks as well as weekends, that is July 6, 7, 8, 13, 14 & 15. If you are interested in coming along during the week, let us know by either using the contact form or calling us at the museum on 01899 221050. If you are calling during the day please leave a message with your contact details – the messages are checked most evenings.