Field Trip to St Paul’s Cathedral

Hi everyone! Another Friday has rolled around. I think our team likes Fridays here at Woodland, not because it’s the last day before the weekend, but because by this point in the week we have gotten into the swing of things and don’t have to contemplate what to do today, we have already decided and planned the day before or earlier in the week. For example, today we continued with our cleaning of the stones since we had started the process yesterday.

Yesterday was our “field trip” to St Paul’s Cathedral in downtown London. The Parish Council asked us to come for a visit to do some preliminary probing on the front lawn since they suspected that many monuments were sitting under the surface, unseen. When we arrived, we quickly determined the most likely areas for the stones to be and began to check the area for stones under the ground.

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Since St Paul’s is located in a heavily trafficked area of downtown, we had to be particularly careful with our excavation of the stones. We couldn’t make a mess of the front lawn, and we couldn’t really do significant lifting of the stones (since we didn’t have the machinery or tools we usually use for heavy lifting). We began along one of the fences where we saw 3 stones in a row. We assumed that stones continued along the row with the same spacing between them and this turned out to be correct!

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As MacKenzie probed for stones along the line, Sunny followed along, and the two worked as a team to determine the edges of the stones so we could begin to dig and uncover them. As Peter mentioned in his post, he and Joey were working on digging to what we initially thought was a stone, but turned out to be a cluster of tightly packed rocks. Once we determined the mistake, we began to work as a team to uncover the flagged section. As we dug up a couple of the stones and were able to read them, we learned that we may have stumbled across a children’s section of stones. Very sad, but in the mid-nineteenth century, it was not uncommon for children to pass away before their first or second birthday.

The overall process of extracting the stones from the earth was largely the same as we do at Woodland, but many of the stones we worked on at St Paul’s were much smaller. And since we were only there for a few hours, we didn’t have time to clean them, only enough supplies and time for a quick brushing.

We had a few curious visitors while we were working, who were keen to ask us about our work and plans for the stones (at this point, we have no plans for the stones at St Paul’s). It’s always exciting to meet people interested in our work and tell them about our major project at Woodland. Hopefully we will convince a lot of people to come out to our tour on June 24th!

That’s all for this week, have a wonderful long weekend!

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