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Day One: The team makes short work of backfill

Work in the park has begun! You may find it tricky to visit us this year as there is other work going on in Grosvenor Park at the moment, which means parts of it are off limits for visitors.  We will still find a way to have our annual Open Day event (watch this space) and of course we can offer lots of virtual visits through our blog.

We kick off with two fresh archaeologists' views on their first day on site! Some pics hopefully to come soon!

Laura becomes OK with dirt and is impressed by the finds so far:

Today, was the first day of the 2014 Chester Archaeological dig in Grosvenor  Park. There was a lot of anticipation and excitement for today’s dig and we weren’t disappointed! The sun was shining and the spades were working away and everybody enjoyed doing so.

In the morning, we were briefed on site and introduced to the friendly and attentive staff we were to be working with. After this, we got straight to it! We began by clearing the backfill from the previous years’ work, which was difficult and took the whole day to do.  Although challenging, our efforts were not in vain as many various and unique finds were uncovered. This included a beautifully crafted clay pipe, which most of us had never seen the likes of before.  Another find was an incredibly large animal tooth and a vast array of large bone pieces. This opened our eyes to the fact that although copious excavations have been undertaken here, there was still so much archaeology for us to find.
I have to say even with my OCD and tendency to hate getting filthy, today's experiences have really opened my eyes to commercial archaeology. As an individual who has never experienced a dig such as this one before, today has made me realise how fun it can be and how much closer you become with your colleagues.

Jess becomes one with the mattock and even appreciates rain!:

This is the first day of the 2014 Grosvenor Park training dig and this year’s group of second years got to the site filled with anticipation and excitement to get some practical experience! Introductions to the site and the staff took place in the Mess Room before we headed out to the site. It wasn’t long before we found ourselves, shovel, mattock, and wheel barrow in hand getting stuck in! Clearing the backfill from the previous year’s excavations was today’s task, and it was testing labour but successful.

By lunchtime, everybody was ready for a break, either walking into town or eating lunch down by the river under the sun, nursing developing blisters and fuelling up for the next part of the day. A lot of discussion was about the interesting array of finds we found that morning such as an intricately decorated clay pipe, various pottery types and even a stray beer bottle! The afternoon brought more exciting finds like bone fragments and chunks, and a large animal tooth. The day ended on a good note with all of us strolling home in the rain through town, picking up food on the way and eagerly awaiting bath and bedtime. I’m sure the next three weeks will prove as entertaining, insightful, and educational as today has been!