This is the last week before I start the actual excavating and I think I’ve narrowed down my sites to four. I was originally planning to possibly do up to five but after some very eventful visits last week I realise that this maybe too ambitious. Doing four allows me to dedicate more time to each and therefore hopefully allow me to carry out a more thorough and rigorous investigation.
So my findings after the initial visits have highlighted some surprises already. I can’t help but have expectation when going to a site, as well as a little apprehension that maybe there won’t be anything worth noting. This did happen with a couple. The old orchard at Stapleton’s field was one of these. On arrival I got spooked as I felt sure I could hear people in there, just out of view. I decided to walk around it and approach from the other side so I might stay unseen yet be able to assess the situation more clearly. This definitely got the heart racing as I stalked through the undergrowth as stealth-like as possible (quite a challenge for a clumsy like me!) to discover it was only voices coming from the allotments further down. Overall the site was disappointingly tidy and void of much evidence (a part from a child’s trainer under the hedge and two identical tape measures – it doesn’t take much to get a hint of something mysterious even in the smallest of finds) but anyway I came away (almost) decided that this was unfortunately not a site I was going to take further.
The next visit I made was to Norton Common and the Pudding Basin. I was hopeful after a disappointing start to the day that this site wouldn’t leave me short of a crisp packet or 50, but low and behold again surprisingly void of many surface finds. I was starting to feel that there was a conspiracy going on and actually someone has been going round stealing my finds before I could get there. I guess this is a rare moment…disappointment and let down at not finding more of other peoples rubbish!
So I went away and thought about this dilemma and resolved to go with it. I could stick with Norton Common as one of my sites, even if there is a phantom rubbish snatcher. (I bet its those Friends of Norton Common doing good things again.) I know this place is used, there were scorched patches of earth from fires and well worn areas of clearings. Maybe these inhabitants are just very conscientious and like to take their artefacts with them.
By day three of site visits though I wasn’t struggling with this same problem. Off I went to the underpass under the A1(m) on the Greenway route and was presented with my biggest find to date; a burnt out Escort Van located right in the middle of the bridge. I had chosen this site for its graffiti (which was plentiful) and wasn’t expecting much else here. I took a stack of photos and noted its location and condition. I expect this will be the last time I see it. Crisp packets and condom wrappers tend to stay around… burnt out vans are a little more conspicuous. I think I can conclude that this is where the bad boys come. The graffiti is absolutely fascinating and crude and I guess quite typical, but I’m so excited about studying it and analysing all the data I will be collecting from this place.
…read the full post on my project website: www.hiddenlandscapesproject.wordpress.com/2012/09/…