And so sadly we reached the final day of the second season and the last day of excavation for the Little Asby Through the Keyhole project, although much work remains for myself and Katie sorting through the records, processing all the data and compiling the report which will of course follow.

Despite the expectation of a hard days toil we had a good turnout for the last day as we have had throughout the project. Most of the excavation and recording had been completed yesterday with the final day set aside for backfilling and returfing the remaining trenches but there was just time in the morning to squeeze a little more recording out of Trench E. James, who had spent several days in this trench already, had a section drawing to complete, recording the deposits within the prehistoric bank. With the backfilling team moving ever closer he just had time to retrieve an environmental sample and beat a rapid retreat before the trench was infilled.

Very nicely drawn record of the south-west facing section through the prehistoric enclosure
James collecting the environmental sample

With three trenches remaining to be backfilled and a fourth requiring re-turfing the back of the work was broken by lunch time and by 2:30 all the trenches had been re-turfed and the team were busy dismantling the tents and packing the vehicles. The last of the equipment was packed away just in time to avoid the heavens opening.

Now that's what I call team work everyone. You have to love a good backfilling line to put the turf jigsaw puzzle back together

While further discoveries remain following the processing of the environmental samples the team has already had a successful season, expanding our knowledge of the Little Asby area during the prehistoric period onwards. Significant scatters of flint waste and the retrieval of a fragment of Neolithic axe from beneath the enclosure boundary reinforce the picture of a landscape already cleared of woodland, enclosed and settled by the Bronze Age.

From the later period the form and construction of the longhouse has been thoroughly explored, and the examination of several key areas will allow us to interpret its use. Although only a limited number of finds were retrieved from this phase those that were, tentatively suggest the building saw occupation during the late medieval to early post medieval period. I suspect further post-excavation analysis will allow us to unpick more of its fascinating story and I look forward to disseminating the report.

And so, on behalf of myself, Katie and the rest of the team at Oxford Archaeology, it remains only for me to thank everyone that has been involved in the project over the last two seasons. It has been a pleasure to work alongside our volunteers who have been unfailingly cheerful and enthusiastic even when the weather was against us. Hopefully everyone has enjoyed it as much as we have and perhaps we may see you again in the future.

All the best