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Showing posts from May 27, 2012
We're back for our 12th season. Keep up to date with all the discoveries, brought to you by our daily bloggers.

Aye fond farewell...

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Jonathan says farewell:

Last Day:

After being rained off site yesterday, we were all looking forward to a final day in the trench. Unfortunately we didn’t get to excavate anything new; instead we were just cleaning up the trench for the site photo and setting up for the Roman Festival that’s happening over the weekend. However with a water fight breaking out and wheelbarrow jousting the site was far from boring. After this we went for a drink at the pub to celebrate what has been a really fun 4 weeks enjoyed by everyone.

Dan W. offers up musings on his final day:

It was the last day of the dig and it had the perfect start. I began and eventually planned (in partnership with a beautiful lady) what remained of the hearth, its sandy underdeposits, with militaristic precision that left my lady-friend initially confused. But with practise makes perfect, she learnt with signs such as 'C2 four clicks east from west' and we drew what was I believe is one of the most detailed plans aro…

Wheelbarrow Joust

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Lauren's account of her final day of the season: On our last day of the dig Sydney did not get to see the light of day. Drawing a complicated feature meant he was not needed. However it gave my knees a nice break! At lunchtime the boys got inventive with a game of wheelbarrow jousting, with drawing boards for shields, buckets for helmets and metre sticks for weapons. I really don’t know where they got their ideas from. However, after a relaxing pint in the local and all my essays nearly finished I can safely say I will miss our trench. From possible sixteenth century outbuilding to chapel and Roman road a good time was had by all.

Ye Olde Pens

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Matt B posts his final blog:

Today was looking good, we had rain! After two weeks of intense sun, rain seemed like a blessing. It would no longer feel like we were scraping at concrete, but mud, real mud where we would see what we were actually looking for. Sadly it wasnt to be, we were told that because the rain would last the day we couldn't dig ( I think Simon, Dan and Julie just didn't want to get wet). So, our morning was taken up by washing all of the bricks from the hearth. Yay brick washing! Julie did try and make it sound more exciting by telling us that it was the earliest brick structure known in the area.


After dinner there was still no sign of digging in the nice soft soil. My afternoon was taken up by marking our finds that we discovered during our dig. Now, I know archaeology is mostly about the past but the olde fashioned pens we had to use are probably older than most of the finds! It was good practice at getting your handwriting to microscopic level on the ot…

Open Day and Olympic Torch

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Jasmine gives an account of the big day on Tuesday:
Yesterday was a big day for everyone on the trench as it was finally time for the big open day. This also happened to fall on the day that the Olympic torch passed through Chester. The morning started with everyone on site planning some of the remaining features including the chapel/robber trench/ cellar (interpretation still changing) and although it was still sunny there was more of a lack of people in the park than normal recently.

It wasn't long before that changed. After morning break the people that had finished their planning went to gather tables and other equipment for the open day. Ollie's method of doing this was to carry two tables on his back. This worked pretty well until it came to helping to get them down, when he nearly took out three of us. We spent the rest of the morning setting up and opening up the fence around the trench to make the site look more inviting. We had an information point at the front of si…

Time flies!

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Sam starts to pack up her trowel and say farewell:

Well its our last week, and that means that this will be my final blog entry. In the last 4 weeks we have all worked very hard and have gone from being curious students who were nervous about getting stuck in lest we inadvertantly destroy a find, to being confident enough to take a mattock to the ground. Our skills have increased greatly and I don't think there's a single person from our group that hasn't been bitten by the archaeology bug. Yesterday we were delighted to open our gates to the public for an open day (coinciding with the torch going past our dig site) and were very pleased with the numbers of people we managed to get in to see the site and some of our finds. Although this meant that our day was longer leaving us a little more tired, it was definitely worth it.


After yesterday's celebrations we began to realise that we have now hit midweek and our time is running out. Although you would expect that this w…

Tiles and a Roman Brooch!

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Julie, our finds expert, hghlights some of the great artefacts uncovered so far:

A quick update on finds. We’re continuing to find large amounts of building materials: roof slates, ceramic crested ridge tiles in white and red fabrics, mortar, white wall plaster, brick, apparently structural ironwork and floor tiles. Most of the floor tiles are medieval with two colour or line impressed designs but a few fragments are from large square tiles which are possibly late 15th or early 16th in date. These tiles have two types of design: one isline impressed with floral (daisy like) designs similar to those found at the 25 Bridge St excavations in 2001, the otherhas unglazed relief mouldingand is similar to tiles found associated with the redesign of the west entrance of Chester Cathedral in the early Tudor period.
Some of the medieval designs are types that have appeared in previous seasons a griffin and the remains of this stylised lion’s head (14th century):

These tiles are possibly from th…

A Chapel? And photography

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Katie describes the robber trench:
Today was the start of our final week on site and once again the sun was out making some of us uncomfortable and even mildly disorientated on my part.
Last week and today giant strides were made on what was thought to be a cellar, but is now thought to be a robber trench. Robber trench for what you may ask? Now this is where it gets very exciting. Dan and Uncle Simon believe that this trench was used to rob out a very substantial wall structure, which looks to have had buttresses on the outer wall. This is exciting as it could indicate that this wall belonged to a medieval chapel, the location of which has been lost for centuries.
The majority of today was spent cleaning areas of the site in order to take photographic records of features. Although we still record all the features with plan and section drawings to record accurate levels and measurements, we take the photographs so that we can look at the archaeology after it has been destro…

The Final Week

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Emma updates us on Monday's news:

Today was the start of the last week of the excavation. It’s strange to think that next week that we won’t be digging, but putting the finishing touches to our portfolios instead.
For Monday’s task there was not much digging involved. Group D was assigned to clear up some areas of the trench that needed to be photographed. It’s important to have the site look tidy for photographs just in case they are ever used for publications. By mid-morning we were sent to the Chester Renaissance building to get a further session in photography. Unlike the session we had in week 1 this time we were giving open criticism on the photos that we had taken in week one. This was insightful as it was good to have a better idea on how to improve our photography skills. For the rest of the afternoon we were sent back to the trench to clear more areas.
To give our readers a little update about the site - I would like to mention that we now believe the building we are inv…

Breaking News: A Chapel?

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Meggen gives us news from the start of Week Four:

I popped down to the trench first thing this morning to see the latest since I was digging elsewhere on Friday - and the site looks very different! What we had thought was a cellar pit now appears to be a robbed out wall. Not just any old wall, either - this was a very substantial and well-built stone wall with nice facing stones and a rubble core. It even looks like there may have been buttresses on the outside of the wall.

This has made Dan and Simon very suspicious (and excited) since there is an account of an old medieval chapel (St Mary's) that used to be in this area. It was demolished and/or built into the post-medieval mansion house and its location has been lost for centuries.
Have they found the missing chapel!?! They've only got one week left to find out!




Uncle Simon's Birthday!

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A big happy birthday goes out to dig director Simon who celebrates a rather important milestone today.