1998 Field Diaries

Our main season of fieldwork ran until 18 June. As with earlier years, we worked on a variety of features. We continued our project work with local schools, artists in residence, as well as offering formal and informal guided tours.

Initially we stripped the trenches of their heather and turf. We then also removed the thin blanket of peat that covers much of the moor. Any features (such as placed stones, pits, post holes) that lie beneath the peat are likely to be prehistoric in date.

Over the three weeks of the field season we used an alternating pattern of trowelling, planning, sampling and the cutting of sections. With luck, this should move us a little closer to understanding something of the character and timing of activities in the immediate area of the trenches.

These pages were updated with new photographs and text as the excavation progressed. This was followed with further updates and the 1998-99 Interim report a few weeks after fieldwork was completed. The less said about the midges and the rain, the better!

Site diaries

Read the diaries for each of the excavation sites below:

Containing a series of upstanding stone features that may well define the area of a prehistoric building.

Located along the line of the Neolithic enclosure that cuts off the cliff of Gardom's Edge itself.

New in the third week of the field season.

A test pit survey was also conducted in and around a smaller enclosure that was partially excavated in 1997.


Gardom's Edge

For Chad

After the dig, all we are left are traces of the work,

boots we leave encrusted with peat

to keep the smell of sphagnum in the house,

coffee grounds in the flask, and the neat catalogue

of notes and plans you pore over for days.

Your fine script, sweat smudged or smeared by rain,

litters the table in a scatter of sherds and string,

the burnished steel of the trowel, worn to the hand,

your coat pockets, filled with soil and lint.

I might taste the salt on the skin, and perhaps

it is your body that best remembers this skill of digging,

shovel and mattock balanced in the spine

and the callous of the palm,

vertebrae abraded by rain

and the sunburnt backs of your hands.

Late at night, I know you reinhabit these finds

to recall a voice, the touch of a hand,

or imagine the other lives that have been,

like the moment we take our father's tools,

fit our hands to the wood,

thinking to find our blood-line in the grain.

Mel Giles