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2021 Back at Last

After having to cancel the 2020 dig we are delighted to get back on site at Bridge Farm this summer despite the admin headaches caused by Covid and ever changing restrictions. To add to the tricky logistics we had to fit in 2 years worth of undergrads from Canterbury Christ Church University with the first cohort having to arrive of the 31st May in order to complete the course in time to get their end of year 2 assessments. This group of 26 students are nearing the end of their 4 week stay with the 2021 cohort of 24 students arriving over this weekend (26/27th June) to start their 4 weeks of training. Because of the 30 limit for outside gatherings we have had to delay the start of volunteering originally to the 21st June but then as we all now know this had to be put back further to the 19th July (subject to when relaxation takes place). This will give one week of our traditional mix of students with volunteers and may still involve some social distancing and other measures. We just have to wait and see. However our season is being extended into August to give the volunteers a reasonable period on site and to finally complete excavation of this 2018 openned trench.

A lot of the work over these first weeks has been cleaning up and re-excavating the part dug features from 2018/19 although the NE corner of the trench has finally been hard cleaned though to date it is not revealing any startling features. The large part-excavated pit that was being dug in quadrants is another major work being continued. The amount of hard-burnt clay in the centre has caused some speculation as to whether this is the remains of a furnace and Jeremy Hodgkinson of the Wealden Iron Reasearch Group has promised to come down and give us his expert opnion as someone who has seen a good few furnaces in his time.

The other main news, especially for the finds crew, is that we finally took over a second business unit at the farm in May which has a good size private office plus an open hall for finds processing, lectures, powerpoint presentations and winter equipment store. This has allowed the HQ building to be solely used as a refrectory which has proved especially beneficial during the current difficult times. It will also allow us to finally get all the finds, both new and archive, together in one place and arranged in clear year and context order on accessible staging. It is looks like a busy autumn for the regular CAP team to get the new unit fully functioning as well as making alterations to the former HQ.

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