Pitt-Rivers' field diaries

The P-series of documents from the Pitt-Rivers archive, which is currently on loan to the Pitt Rivers Museum from the Salisbury & Wiltshire Museum, consists of various notes and drafts written by Pitt Rivers, most of which were subsequently published. Over the past month, Maria Temporal has been transcribing the documents from this archive that are most relevant to the Excavating Pitt-Rivers project. Below is her summary of one of the papers.

Document P23 is a day-by-day manuscript account of Pitt Rivers excavations at Cissbury Ring, on the South Downs in West Sussex, over five days in April 1875. Pitt-Rivers describes the excavation of a ditch and the various artefacts recovered from different layers of the ditch fill. He also describes the excavation of two intercutting pits, and earthworks in the environs of the site.

Pitt-Rivers' field sketches ceramics found in 'Pit 2' at Cissbury, West Sussex (Document P23, folio 7).
The account includes sketches and drawings of sections of the ditch and the pits, such as that reproduced above. His day-by-day field diary presents his ongoing interpretation of the site, including his account of a large earthwork feature on which further work might be undertaken in the future. These field diaries provide a vivid account of the General in the field. As the project progresses, these accounts will help the interpretation of the objects from these excavations which survive in the Pitt Rivers Museum founding collection.

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