Spent the morning assembling a sieve for use on the excavation which starts on Monday. It is a sieve with a 5mm mesh, essential for recovering the smaller pieces of flint from the ploughsoil and other contexts.
The design is ingenious and is based on a ‘rocker’ mechanism. The sieve mesh is mounted in a frame where the long sides have gently curving lower edges (a bit like a sleigh). This unit sits into a table-like frame on legs. The sieve can then be easily rocked from one or both ends, taking some of the effort out of the process. I look forward to testing it out, it should help to boost our finds tally.
I think a similar design was used on the Bective Excavations Project last year – so they have no unfair advantage! Thanks to Liam for developing the sieve from ‘concept’ stage to a working reality!
We will also be using another sieve (we will be opening more than one trench) which will be based on a more conventional ‘suspended’ design. Big thanks to Emmet for designing, constructing and delivering that one. It will be interesting to compare performance of the two.
Below is a small selection of the artefacts found during the Brú na Bóinne Fieldwalking Project. In places where there has been prehistoric activity, the stone tools used by our ancestors often survive in the soil. Each year when a field is ploughed, some of these artefacts are turned to the surface and can be collected by archaeologists using appropriate survey techniques and permissions (from the National Museum of Ireland and landowners). Scatters of such material often indicate where intense activity, residential, agricultural, industrial, took place in the past.
The location of the Rossnaree Enclosure was initially identified as a scatter of flint and stone tools on the surface of a ploughed field. Follow-up survey using various types of geophysical equipment allowed us to look below the level of the ploughsoil and explore the extent, layout and some of the internal detail of this unusual site.