Chapter 4


The rain fell softly and continually. The archaeologists had laid scaffolding planks across the mud to make it easier to wheel barrows across to the spoil heap. There was a one way system to keep the five barrows in constant motion. The students were taking turns with the digging.

As they neared the bottom of the wider pit they put the shovels to one side and scraped more carefully with trowels. From time to time one of them would pause and look closely at a pebble or larger stone as it was uncovered. Occasionally they would pass an object up to Luke, the assistant director of the dig, who would rinse it in a bucket of muddy water and lay it on a small table under the canvas awning for closer examination.

Ludovic Vestas clambered down the makeshift steps into the trench. The walls were chest high. At one end there was a deeper trough designed to catch the surface water running off the base of the pit. Every half an hour someone would fill a bucket from the puddle and empty it away from the excavation.

Ludovic looked down near his muddy boots.

Five hundred year old bones are not cartoon white and tidy. The skeleton was half uncovered and definitely human, the bones stained a mixed brown.  The skull was face down, buried to the top of the jawbone. The vertebrae lay in a slightly uneven line leading a neat row of ribs down to where the lower back disappeared into the mud. At the shoulders there was a confusing tangle of crossed bones and long decayed wood which had left the mud stained almost black.

The diggers kneeling on sodden rubber pads on either side looked up.

“My anatomy is a bit rusty,” said one of them, “but I think that this fellow had three arms.”

Ludovic knelt beside them. He picked up a stiff brush and rubbed at the bones.

“You think that is a humerus?” He pointed. “And that one? And the end of that one?”

“Uh huh. Yep. Three of them.”

“I agree,” nodded Ludovic. “Probably four arms if we keep looking. There are at least two bodies here.”

2 Responses to “Chapter 4”

  1. 1 Fiona from Perth

    Where are chapters 5 and 6? I am on a cliff edge and want to know what is happening at the dig site 🙂

    • Sorry Fiona – some days are busier than others. I need time to produce work of a suitable quality for such a discerning audience. 🙂

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