22nd May

Vince, Jake, Jon, Brockers, Nick, and Duncan.

Morning session: me and Jake digging, I concentrated my effort in the lower southwest section while Jake dug along the mid-level bench. Nick and Duncan clearing away (Nick, also carrying out some skip-run maintenance/improvements), Brockers and Jon were on surface duties. The spoil removal progressed at a steady rate until we decided to stop for lunch around 12:30. It was rather pleasant in the sunshine, a nice change following the persistent rain during the last couple of days.

After lunch there was some debate about who was doing what then, a plan was hatched to fix up a pulley system over the entrance, Nick had supplied a shiny new pulley. A suitable branch seemed to be in the right position, although some doubts were expressed by a few people. All we needed was someone to climb the branch and secure the tape sling, carabiner, and pulley in place, that person was me. It was soon sorted and all we needed to do now was try it out, so off we went back underground.

Photograph by Brockers!

Afternoon session: bags were filled, cleared, and loaded into the skip and up they went, the pulley system worked better than expected. There was, of course, the usual issue of the rope being difficult to grip as it became muddier but still it worked. The argument for not setting-up a pulley system earlier, well, we had to wait for the branch to attain a suitable size.

Anyway, back to the digging, the bags to be filled were restricted to 50 for this session due to them being especially difficult to empty now they were claggy, and there were plenty of rocks on the surface to be moved to the location for another wall to be built. As the bag supply dwindled at the dig face the number of rocks being removed started to increase, this was unfortunate as the section of sediment I had spent the morning squaring up had now been destroyed, which was disappointing as I did not get to record it. Will have to start again.

The ‘Soft South’

Author: mendipgeoarch

Archaeologist, Geologist, Speleologist