So, as I’ve been excavating in other areas of the trench the past 2 weeks, the rest of our team had been starting to uncover a ditch that spans the length of our trench going west -> east.
Now, I had heard rumors of the difficulty of finding the edge of said ditch, because of the many layers of ancient gravel and clay inclusions that had intermingled with the silty ditch fill over the centuries. In addition, the shape of the overall ditch curves slightly and bulges out in certain areas, almost as if it was dug sloppily in multiple sections over a period of time.
So, add the fact that a later Victorian drain cuts into a ditch that seems to have been dug by an ancient horde of drunken Romans, and you have a recipe for utter frustration.
Luckily, the edge was eventually found, a layer of firm bluish clay that was utterly beautiful to those who had been searching for it for weeks. In my section in the western section of the ditch, Emma and I were fortunate to have the outline of the ditch edge to work towards.
Another awe inspiring moment came when Emma and I finally found the clay lined apex (bottom) of the ditch.
Finally, at the end of the day on Thursday, the scale of what we all had accomplished was finally realized. Because of a tremendous effort from our field school team as well as our volunteer excavators, the ditch that has caused so much frustration in the beginning finally looks like a proper ditch.
And best of all, we had lots of fun digging it out along the way!