It was great to be back, even if only for 2 weeks this year. Fascinating to see how well, or otherwise, the masonry excavated last year has fared over the severe winter. And a great pleasure to meet all you very hard working diggers in weeks 6 and 7 - the Temple Avenue gang deserve all our thanks for the future discoveries they have made possible.
Harry - many thanks for your kind words about the Barcombe Hill walk. The repeat in week 7 suffered an even stronger and colder wind than week 6, so many thanks also to the 22 of you who braved the elements over the 2 weeks; I hope you all found the effort worth while. We are hoping there will be some more similar walks during the season, led by someone at least as well qualified as me. Look out for possible announcements.
I went up Barcombe again on Thursday last week when it was much sunnier, though little warmer, and managed to spot all sorts of extra bits of quarrying and other features which I missed later in the season last year when the bracken was higher. I've also had some more finds of information on the internet which mean I may not have correctly interpreted a few of the things I pointed out. I'll post an update with a few photos when I've got some firmer information.
But I must pass on my thanks straight away to the week 6 digger (I'm inexcusably bad at remembering names but if you read this do get in touch and you can have my thanks in person) who reappeared at the end of week 7 and suggested to me, correctly I'm sure, that what I interpret as iron workings along the northern lip of the hill are in the form known as bell pits. I won't give a full explanation of these as you can find several good ones on the internet, including the ubiquitous Wikipaedia. This method of working was common from prehistoric times even into the early 20th century and would provide a very good explanation of the form these workings take.
Harry, sorry to nit-pick when you've been so kind but I don't think you describe correctly the last of the 5 pictures in your 11 May, 10:42pm post (10:42 GMT? what were you doing still awake, let alone blogging, at that time of night after 3 days' hard digging!). The view seems to be a well-zoomed picture of the view northwards, to the dark forests where the wild Scotsmen live, rather than across the civilised Tyne valley.
I'm now onto the final stretch of writing for Andy a comprehensive report of the first two years of the stone sources project. When we get to the stage that some of it can go into print, I'll make sure all you valiant diggers are the first to hear the important bits about the stones you kindly dig up for me.
Happy digging, and pot washing, and surveying (even I did some!)