CAER 2017 Begins... Thursday 4th May!

CAER 2017 Begins... Thursday 4th May!
What will be uncovered this year?
We're back for our 11th season during which examination of trench IV will be continued. Our work will examine the interior of the masonry building (the possible chapel) with its drain discharging into the ditch, the western part of the ditch feature where it is overlain by the medieval building and the underlying deposits. This year trench IV will also be extended to the south in order to locate and examine a stone structure identified during the excavation of a service trench in 2013.
Keep up to date with all the discoveries, brought to you by our daily bloggers.

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Saturday, 4 June 2011

The Big Roman Festival in Chester

Hello followers - if you are local or can get to Chester, make sure you head down to Grosvenor Park this weekend. The Roman Festival (part of the series of events known as 'Chestival' this summer) is taking place on both Saturday and Sunday. From viewing yesterday's setting up, it looks like it will be amazing. There was a reconstructed (polystyrene) temple, busloads of Roman soldiers and even a beer tent
(somehow they knew to place this right next to the archaeologists and the trench...).
Check out the details at:

Some of the students are helping out in the trench this weekend and there are lots of activities on offer for all ages.
We hope some of you come along - make sure you tell us if you have been looking at the blog!

The Final Day!

Shameem gives us a final look into the life of the diggers -
I'm typing out this entry from the comfort of a wheelbarrow!
It's been a very easy going day since it's the last day of the dig. We've been busy cleaning up the site to prep it for photography, and we've been setting up some tables and gazebos for the Roman Festival at the park over the weekend.
During our morning break, a few of us indulged in a well deserved ice cream since the intense 24 degree sun was draining us.
Apart from all this work, there was a bit of sunbathing thrown in for some of the girls (
It's been a fantastic four weeks, and I'm sure we've all learnt a lot during our time here. Now to get stuck in with our last piece of work before the summer holidays!
Sat in this wheelbarrow, I can't help but eagerly await our after-dig drunk, since at the moment, I have luke-warm water. I'm dying for an ice-cold Coke....

Friday, 3 June 2011

The Mysterious Inscribed Glass

Julie has provided us with a fantastic picture (taken by Cheryl) of the inscribed piece of glass found a few days ago. We still have lots of research to do on it, but thought our followers would like to see it!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Tidying up the loose ends..

Jenine's story of the *almost* last day...
The end of the excavation is approaching. So, today it was less severe excavation and more trowelling and recording. To begin the day we started by recording the location of the site so that the group next year will know where to excavate. To do this a surveying instrument called a total station, which looked similar to a dumpy level as it has a tripod to hold the device, was used. The total station electronically records and measures the northings, eastings and heights of allocated points around the corners of the trench and the park by using a laser that is transmitted from the total station.
Later, trowelling continued to reveal more of the archaeology so that more detailed planning could take place.
The afternoon was spent in the finds room, which consisted of marking the finds using the foundation pens and bagging them. Double checking what exactly you have found is very important as some materials can look very similar - mortar and plaster, for example. Metal is treated differently from the other material in the bagging process as holes need to be pierced for the air to circulate so the decomposition rate isn’t increased.


Emily updates us on the penultimate day...
Today was the second to last day of the dig. I can't believe how fast these last weeks have gone by! The trench has revealed a number of features and offered a few surprises during the excavation. We clearly encountered a demolished building and came across a number of features related to it, most significantly the hearth area and the curious slab-stone ditch, but still cannot tell the exact function of it. The layers also produced a number of interesting finds and everyone had their share of interesting items; although, some seemed to have had more luck than others! It is a shame that we have to finish tomorrow and can't go down deeper to the Roman Road, which is believed to be present underneath our building.
But the most important thing is how we all developed and learned. Although we are already in second year and have studied archaeological practice thoroughly, the practice we had these past weeks has taught us more than books can. There are always problems and aspects encountered one would never expect from theory alone. The dig also improved the group dynamic and everyone seemed to get to know each other better. All in all it was a very enjoyable experience!
So today we spent the day giving the site a "beauty makeover" (trowelling the surface, tidying up...), to prepare it for professional photography and the Roman Festival this weekend (and for it being backfilled!)

Post Scriptum: Still no sight of the 10,000 pounds!
[Ed. - We always get asked by passers-by if we've found their lost money...honest, we haven't found a thing!]

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Who is Randall? We found his glass...

Zoe talks about her day in the trench -
This afternoon was spent filling out context sheets, working out all the details of each context and recording it so that others can go back to the sheets and tell what was there without actually having to re-excavate. It records what type the context is; whether it is a structure, a cut (eg. a ditch) or a fill (what fills up a cut) and also records the condition of the soil, its colour, texture etc. The colour of the soil was recorded using a Munsell Chart, which displays a variety of different hues and shades that can be found in soil. The context sheets also record the relationships between the different layers in the soil.

Probably the best finds of the day were the two fragments of medieval glass, both of which were inscribed! One of the inscriptions is clearly readable as “Randall” followed by some more letters that we were uncertain about.

Too much animal bone?

Andrew tells us what goes on after the Open Day -
Today was only a half day for group C as Wednesday afternoon is our scheduled study leave.
The morning consisted of taking finds that were used in yesterday's Open Day back to the finds HQ - Albion Street.
We then progressed to completing our finds assignment for our assessed portfolio based on our own individual assemblages.
This was followed by much washing of finds - particularly animal bone for myself and the labelling of finds with their context numbers and excavation information.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The Open Day

Adam (aka 'Flynn') tells us about the site today -
The beginning of the day was filled with preparatory tasks in order to transform our humble excavation site into an extravaganza of archaeology. Following the initial set up of the activity zone, including the tremendously entertaining dumpy level arcade, it was time for the entire group to prepare themselves for the masses that were predicted to descend upon the site. However, soon after the 10:00 am unveiling of the site to the public, the heavens opened and thoughts of the most impressive spectacle to ever grace Grosvenor Park faded as the crowds were put off by the rain. Some hard-core individuals did appear, despite the heavy drizzle, to sample the activities and gain an insight into what had actually been uncovered on the site.
As the sky cleared and the sun began to shine, larger groups of inquisitive persons, including some of the group’s family and friends, began to fill the site and soon there was a throng of activity around the whole area. The group stood up to the test of the tide of visitors, answering all queries competently, efficiently and professionally; a true credit to their educators.
The ‘create a tile’ section was constantly bustling with children and adults alike clambering to create their very own clay tiles, but often many of the blank tiles did not fit the mould and had to be reformed by our professional clay worker Neil. Many of our younger visitors seemed so excited by this it could have been mistaken that Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer had come to town early.
Throughout the rest of the morning and well into the afternoon the enthralled visitors were thoroughly entertained by the entire event, especially the height of the dumpy level staff, which one witty onlooker noted “was taller than a sycamore tree”. But, as the day wore on the number of visitors waned and soon enough it was time to pack our things and lay the open day to rest. The heat of the day continued to warm our backs as we, including the group rapidly becoming known as 'Three Friends ... and Tom', toiled to round off a very successful day.
Finally, a big Thank You to all who visited the site today. It wouldn’t have been a success without you.

Tile making, finds washing, squirrel biting! and a robbed out wall

Ali tells us about the Open Day -
After a torrent of rain this morning, the weather turned into a beautiful sunny warm afternoon.
Our Open Day was a brilliant success!
Family, friends and the local people of Chester flocked to see our Dig In The Park and also took part in tile making, drawing, our display of finds, washing our finds, levelling, a mini dig and a tour of the site with 'Action Diggers' excavating.
The finds washing and tile making was a great success with the children (even in the downpour of rain). The finds display was favoured by various age groups.
Bev and I decided to stay on site instead of take advantage of our afternoon study leave; we got to excavate the backfill of a possible robbed out wall feature. A perfect ending to a perfect day, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all
.... apart from my daughter who got bit on the finger by a squirrel, possibly by a jealous Bertina. It was tempting to perform a streak in the background whilst Mark was interviewed on camera, but age and gravity convinced Bev and I that it was definitely NOT a good idea as it would possibly frighten the public away.

Ali signing off (and still singing!).
p.s. This is my last blog and would like to thank all of the staff of Chester University Archaeology Department, Cheryl, Jane, Gill, Julie, Simon, Mike, Alison, Colin and lastly a huge thank you to Gary for everything you have taught us this last four weeks. It has been a fantastic experience and I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute. I feel privileged to be part of a brilliant year. Thank you to all of my fellow second year students - you are all stars.