Tuesday, 12 April 2011

1. Monday 11th April 2011

The day dawned cloudy and threatening, but at least this was better conditions for getting a 'before' photo of the site, our 2 previous attempts were thwarted by bright sunlight casting 'orrible shadows across the feature.

Wilderness Grotto   © Alan Williams

Today Sue Wrathmell (site director) Ruth Spencer, Roger Pyrah and Alan Williams started the work of cleaning the feature. Sue and Roger painstakingly removing the moss from the shells embedded into the surface while Ruth and Alan cleaned the structural masonry  to discover the extent of the construction. After an hour  or so the threatened rain appeared, not heavy but still wet, making the walk to the spoil heap along the slippery beck side path rather exciting.

Work underway   © Alan Williams
David Johnson visited the site in the late afternoon giving valuable advice on how to draw the structure (well, it is a bit kiln shaped!) and looking in detail at the surface render in which the shells are set – cement and the mortar between the stones – lime mortar: useful information to assist  with the dating. Work finished around 17:30. a productive first day. Tomorrow it is hoped to discover whether the structure has a paved/cobbled floor and to draw plans and sections

Alan Williams

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