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Showing posts from May 22, 2011
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Tiles, the culvert and cookies

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Mark updates us for Friday -
After the climax of yesterday's Elizibethan coin find (courtesy of Zoe) and my total jealousy of it, my finds today were a little lacking. These consisted of two body sherds of Black Brown ware and a slightly more interesting copper alloy artefact, which looked as if it had totaly mineralised into verdigris. The tubular object was approximately 35 mm wide and 40 mm long, possibly the broken part of a product of a tinman (solderer). This was too fragile to remove and remained at the lower margin of the rubble fill, between the hearth and culvert. It may even defy the most attentive attempt to lift it, and disintegrate by the look of it.
However, during the "finds 4" session (with Julie) a reappraisal of the medieval green glazed floor tile fragment I found in the first week showed that it may have more diagnostic significance than first thought. The pattern on the fragment depicts the lower legs and talons of what could be a Gryphon, Wyvern, D…

Elizabeth I and a floor surface

Katie H. tells us about today's action in the trench -
We had a bit of a hectic start this morning, as the heavens opened all last night and this morning so the site had to be assessed first by Gary and Julie. Once it was decided that we weren’t going to damage our treasure trove of a trench we were able to begin the day.
Group C had finds this morning and we had to identify our artefacts and divide them into different categories. This involved filling out context cards and bagging them into specific groups. We also had to fill out context object summary sheets which were hard to grasp at first; however, once we got into the flow of things we sorted ourselves out (and underestimated the amount of bags we needed). We again were provided with a cup of tea thanks to Ali, which sorted us all out on this cold wet day.
This afternoon we carried on excavating and continued on an area that had been started this morning. We cleared back the westerly side of the trench, and tried to get down …

Another coin weight!

Julie, one of our finds experts, updates us on some new discoveries -
A couple of interesting finds came up this morning when we started to remove some of the remaining demolition layer that seems to be sitting on top of the demolished building. One is a fragment of decorated wall plaster similar to material found in 2007; this piece is perhaps from the edge of a rectangular panel, possibly late sixteenth or seventeenth century.

The other is a copper alloy coin weight. We don’t find these very often, but Colin our metal dectorist also found one in the backfill removed at the beginning of the excavation. These were for checking the weight of gold or silver coins and so are made to precise weights. The one from the backfill has a hand on it which suggests that it is from Antwerp. The other has marks on both sides, but I need to look at it more closely to make out what they are.

Students stood up to the rain well this morning. It was a good lesson for them in what they should and shouldn’…

Finds and a squirrel raid

Bev gives us the lowdown on Wednesday -
Hello Global Watchers,
Wednesday started with 'finds' for Group A, which consisted of bagging and tagging with a spot of artefact recognition with Alison. (On a more personal note, this meant comfy chairs, the toilet nearby, and soft loo roll!).
After lunch instead of excavation Group A carried on with some planning in a rapidly drying trench, which was much akin to drawing in a dust bowl. We soldiered on in the trench, however!
In other news:
Mark had an argument with the replacement Gazebo and came off second best! There was also a 'Squirrel watch' as 'Bert' had vandalised my bag in his search for food!
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Katie S. updates us for the 25th of May -
The day started with only groups C and D in the trench, which was strange as it felt too few of us to be on site. Yesterday our group was excavating a section in an area that appeared to be a layer of building debris. We cleared the soil and broken bricks and eventually revealed a few bricks that appeared to be in situ and may be part of a structure. Before any further excavation could be done to see whether these bricks may continue under the rest of the building debris, the section needed to be recorded and this was mine and Andrew's task for the morning.
The section was quite complex so it took us until about 12 to complete it; it would have been nice if the sun was out whilst we were drawing but I’m just thankful it did not rain. As we only had half an hour until lunch, Andrew and I went off with Gary into town to pick up two gazebos to replace Gerry. This was definitely an interesting end to the morning. As it was my group’s study lea…

Environmental archaeology and torn trousers

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Shameem updates us for Tuesday -
We started the day with the boys attempting to resurrect the gazebo after yesterday's mishap concerning poor Gerry (RIP). We then broke off into our separate groups where all four groups did some excavation under the glorious sunshine; a welcome change from yesterday's drizzle. We scraped off another layer of clay and brick and discovered a sandy layer, which is thought to be part of the brick flooring previously discovered. After our morning break, we all welcomed the fact that we had a talk by Ian Smith from Liverpool John Moores University about environmental archaeology. The privilege of sitting on a comfortable seat had definitely been taken for granted before this dig started!

After lunch we broke off into our groups once again, and my group got stuck in with our second photography session in which we photographed some sections. After this the digging recommenced, and we unearthed more of the sandy layer until the end of the working day.

W…

May 23rd - Part Two!

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Jenine gives us some updates on the finds -
Today the dig began with excavation and the major concern was to clear and tidy the excess soil so certain areas could be photographed effectively. One area that was successfully cleaned and photographed was the brick structure that was unearthed in the middle of the trench, which shows signs of burning concentrated in the centre of the bricks suggesting that this may have been a hearth at some stage.
Finds in the morning include that of a small sharp tooth (found by myself) and some other small fragments of bone. The drainage ditch reveals the brick beneath and part of the morning was spent removing soil to reveal the bricks that once may have formed a building in this area.
During lunch the heavens opened and the gazebo was much appreciated at this point. Later in the afternoon came separating the finds into different categories. The analysis of the finds was very important in being able to place them in the right area, particularly th…

Monday the 23rd - Half Way

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Joe misses the Gazebo and draws a section -
So this is our halfway point, we’ve battled uphill risking scraped knuckles, battered shoulders and bent backs yet still we return for more. The workforce seems in no way subdued in spite of this being a Monday morning and the soil almost seems to shy away as we enter the compound style fencing. For me, I’ve not had a digging session for days and my trowel’s thirst to scrape and reveal archaeology is almost unbearable.
Alas, I must wait for the afternoon as in the morning I was section drawing. The section I was drawing was in the north-eastern corner and is where our site supervisor Gary located what appears to be a cut in the section. This led to the working out of how to draw this coherently on the drawing film. In our cleaning up of the section Flynn and I also located what could potentially be where a timber object once lay. The reasons for this is that the soil is so different from the rest of the section and devoid of the inclusions c…

The pigeons are on our side....

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An anonymous report has just come in from something claiming to be an undercover pigeon reporter in the Park:

Students in the Park have been befuddled and bemused by the identity of a so-called 'Bert the Squirrel'. There is in fact a whole crime syndicate of squirrels in the Park masterminded by Big Bad Bert and his gangster moll Bertina Squirrel. Cheshire Constabulary (Squirrel Investigation Branch) are investigating the following crimes: obtaining nuts by false pretenses (notably by looking cute and cuddly), cheese sandwich laundering and the planting of clay pipe stems. Arrests of the culprits are expected imminently.

Even more paperwork!

Anna gives us an account of her activities on Friday -
Today group A spent the very warm morning filling out archaeological paperwork (yes, it’s not just digging). It was our second session on learning how to fill out context sheets. The relevant information needed for these context sheets includes: the colour and texture of the soil in the deposit, layer, cut or fill being discussed in the context sheet, and general information of what is happening in the given area, and also a sketch plan of the trench pointing to where the area is located. Hopefully these context sheets will help in the creation of a Harris Matrix at the end of the dig and provide us a paper record of what we've done once the site is backfilled.