The sun has finally come out after a weekend of torrential rain at Harewood, for the first day of the 2012 fieldschool. After the students arrived, they were given a talk by a steward of Harewood House, on the history of the Lascelles family and the house. The talk was very interesting, particularly focused on the personal lives of the first earls of Harewood, Henry and Edwin Lascelles, and how they came to build their new home at Gawthorpe in the mid-eighteenth century. The students were then taken down to site by the project director, Jon Finch and were given a tour around the trenches. They were shown the areas which were excavated during the 2011 season and the areas we will be focusing on this year.
Today’s main job was to get the new trenches cleared of the topsoil that had been left by the digger. Once the site is cleared of topsoil we will be able to clearly see the underlying archaeological features, such as walls, drains or surfaces. This will allow us to focus on specific areas of archaeology, which we can then investigate further. The brick flue we excavated in Trench 2 last year, seems to extend into a larger brick lined feature appearing in the newly uncovered extension from this area. Across the other trenches there are a number of patches of cobbles beginning to show through, as well as a series of large flat stones just beginning to be excavated. The field drains constructed during the landscaping of the 18th century park, continue to show up across the site and are particularly rich in artefacts such as pottery and broken glass bottles.
We have been very lucky with the weather today, and this has allowed us to get a good start on the site! Hopefully tomorrow we will be able to get really stuck in with the archaeology and start excavating features.