Allow me to break the ice…

For a final post before Christmas we thought we would give you an insight into working on a deep, wet, muddy, cold…. blahblahblah! 😉

Don’t worry, we’re not going to start on a rant about conditions (well, maybe a bit). This is a tribute to the great team of archaeologists we have on site at the moment, and the effort they put in during the winter months to get the job done. 

Being over 5 meters down in the ground and digging clay deposits doesn’t make for the easiest of working conditions. At that depth water is our biggest enemy. Water always makes its way to the lowest point (i.e. our trench), and then cannot disperse into the ground as the clay layers we dig to provide a kind of waterproof seal. Water in deep holes is not only a nuisance whilst excavating, but also a potential hazard.

As such the first task of every day is pumping or bailing out features. In the winter months we often have to break the ice first!

Bailing out a feature

Bailing out a feature (c) MOLA 2012

Pumping out a test pit

Pumping out a test pit (c) MOLA 2012

The team we have on site are very hard working and will be out in most weather; a bit of rain or snow does not usually stop play. However sometimes the rain gets so heavy that we do have to stop; not because the archaeologists will melt, but usually because the movement of people around a wet site churns up the archaeological deposits, creating slip hazards and ruining stratigraphy. On those occasions we usually retreat to the cabin to finish some paperwork… or hide under any on-site cover we can find!

Hiding under a tent on site

Archaeologists sheltering under a tent on site (c) MOLA 2012

Hiding under a waling beam

Archaeologists sheltering under a waling beam (c) MOLA 2012

Ask any archaeologist and they will have experienced cold wet hands from bailing icy water; or wet feet because they have holes in their wellies; or have a whole seat to themselves on the bus because they are so dirty the general public would rather not cosy up next to them.

We say all this with a little smile though as these are all troubles of the past on our site. As of yesterday we have a roof! The site is now covered and so no rain or snow can dampen our spirits!

Site roof

The new site roof! (c) MOLA 2012

And so on we dig, into 2013,hopefully unearthing more amazing objects for us to post on here.

Merry Christmas from MOLA! 

Site team

The site team (c) MOLA 2012

(Be sure to check back in the new year for more amazing finds and happenings on site!)

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4 thoughts on “Allow me to break the ice…

  1. Hi, thought you had all gone, as there was this big white sheet over the area I came to visit earlier in 2012! Pleased to hear you are still there (now undercover) and digging away. Any news on the Walbrook River?

  2. Pingback: The weather outside is frightful, but the finds are so delightful! | Walbrook Discovery Programme

  3. Pingback: So what do you do with all the bags of stuff you take off site?… | Walbrook Discovery Programme

  4. Pingback: They think its all over… It isn’t | Walbrook Discovery Programme

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