The idea to auger a series of test pits proved successful but we soon realised that the little sampling auger we had been using was too short the reach the levels at which we had discovered medieval traces. In order to sample these layers, Mike Tizzard constructed our new monster auger, known as ‘Big T’, from a piece of irrigation pipe attached to a sharpened piece of angle iron. Well over 2m tall, Big T requires us to remove the shallow layer of topsoil found at Millhams, before being used to auger through the relatively softer layers of silt. Although we cannot extract cores, we can bring up soil samples from depth and classify them.
Using Big T, we hope to be able to obtain a view of the stratigraphy in the garden without the labour of excavating test pits and thus adopt a more targeted approach in our excavation strategy.