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.

CAER Banner

CAER Banner

Follow by Email

Friday, 16 May 2014

Day 9: Boar hunt

Just to prove that you never know what you might find amongst the 'rubbish' of demolished buildings, Team 2014 turned up a few unexpected treasures in a day's work...

Our trench at the end of Week 2: the Roman road is visible in the foreground and in the vertical section in the centre of the photo, running underneath the possible medieval structure left of centre.

With the string of nice weather alongside the introduction of a football on site, today was set up to be another entertaining day on the dig. This was however quickly proved wrong although the sun was still shining. John informed me as soon as I got on site that a) I had broken his glasses accidentally during the football game yesterday and b) Tom got injured also during the game (Which is apparently my fault although these things happen!). The morning mainly involved me and the rest of group B catching up on the washing of finds and marking them. Functioning on the little sleep I had as well as my unrivalled ability to make simple tasks hard, this proved difficult. 3 times in a row I found myself going back to the washroom after getting ink everywhere, on myself and the clay pipe I was marking. After lunchtime we were tasked with handling the public; after seeing other groups doing this all week it had become something I was dreading until I actually got talking to people. Brad and I had to deal with lots of questions and you could tell that the public were genuinely interested in what we were doing and wanted to know more about the past of the city they live in. Although the eventful week was rounded off with another great day, the weekend has never been more welcomed... at least until I decide to get my head down and finish these essays.

Today was a fairly eventful day, as Matt managed to unearth a wild boar skull in great condition. For the first part of the day I was replacing Adam's job by working with Matt, excavating some of the fill in the ditch of the possible manor house. This fill contained many animal bones and pieces of pottery, including one very sharp piece of flint I managed to cut my finger open on! After lunch, Freya and I carried on drawing up the plans for a late-medieval fill and drainage ditch, which we unfortunately did not manage to complete today and will carry on with on Monday.
That is a tasty boar skull.

Well, the week started out really bad weather-wise, but has been glorious since! The fine weather today enabled the team to really crack on with some proper archaeology of a possible medieval ditch. We have made really good progress, and some fantastic finds. There has been a lot more animal bone found on site, along with more medieval floor tiles, a small slither of some medieval glass, which is fantastic as it generally doesn't survive well in the archaeological record. Some more Roman and medieval pottery has been liberated along with a small section of a decorated lead medieval window grate. The crown jewel in today's excavation though has to be a complete boar skull found by Matthew. A truly AMAZING site, and it is in really good condition! I love Chester and one of the amazing things about it is that there is archaeology from all periods EVERYWHERE! You only have to skim off a few centimetres of soil before more archaeology is uncovered. Evidenced today, when we tried to use the mattock to cut through the baked soil, but with every stroke we saw something new, and resigned ourselves to just trowelling down as there was so much archaeology to be found.

A week two photo bonanza...

Some pics courtesy of the CWAC archaeologists.. thanks guys!

Look at them all... in the sunshine...dirt beneath their nails... ah the life of the archaeology student!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Day 8: Trowel madness

The nice weather continued today, much to everyone's relief! We started the day by trowelling, meaning many finds were discovered all round. The sun got hotter as the day went on, which led to one of the highlights of my day, in the form of Matt smearing mud across his face when trying to put on sun cream. For a change of pace in the afternoon, Jon and I began drawing up a plan of a section of the trench, which we will hopefully finish tomorrow. I think everyone is wishing that the weather will stay nice!

Today did not disappoint with some great finds, impressive weather and hard team work. Upon arrival, a few of us were separated into groups. Some went to wash finds, others to record the site, take measurements and continue trowelling. I was a troweller, and I loved every minute. The sun was shining and I couldn’t wait to uncover my next find! Late on in the day, after the final break, another colleague and I were chosen to engage with the public and tell them about our exciting project. Everyone we encountered was interested and so pleased to have a look and ask what was going on. We introduced them to a few of the finds we had collected that day and explained the nature and layout of the site, and they had many questions to ask! And of course the odd Time Team reference!

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Day 7: Sun's out!

Finally, a sunny day in the park! Let the proper digging commence!

Dave is thrilled about his medieval tile find.

After the recent weather, today was a welcome change as waterproof clothing was changed for t-shirts and sun cream. Dave, Callum and I were sent to mattock down a layer of soil that was baking quickly in the hot sun. After 20 minutes or so we decided that it would be safer to trowel the layer down after a number of bones were narrowly missed with the mattock! Progress in this part of the site was rather slow due to the sheer volume of finds coming up with pieces of bone, slate and pottery ranging from Roman to medieval dates. After lunch and more importantly ice creams my favourite find of the day was discovered which was a piece of decorated medieval floor tile found by Dave excavating next to me (see above). The afternoon break was spent wisely playing football. All in all, it was greatly appreciated, and after the fun that was had today I hope the weather continues to be as beautiful.

Action shot!

After the hail on Monday, we were all a little dubious of yesterday's nice weather in case it should turn on us at any moment! But waking up to day 7 of the Grosvenor Park Dig with the sun shining and nothing but blue skies seemed to spark a new enthusiasm in us! With spirits high, we headed out to site with our tool loaded wheelbarrows for a day of digging. We spent the morning troweling back the top layer of soil located within the area of the possible medieval structure, turning up numerous fragments of pottery, bone, and some metal and glass, too. The aim was to expose the orange clay underneath. Sandstone was prominent in this area and it is possible that with some more digging, we'll be able to find an earlier structure that predates the stone one we can already see. We also hope to expose some more of the Roman road which we have located on the other side of trench! Unfortunately, our day was up all too quickly but we certainly enjoyed the amazing weather and the great finds of today!

Freshly trowelled surface within the possible medieval structure.
Group D started the day off finds washing which was very good as it gave us a chance to better examine the other groups' finds. Two very important lessons were learnt: always keep labels with the finds to avoid mixing up finds from different contexts; and bone is a nuisance to wash. Regardless it was a welcome change of pace and a refreshing change of pace from digging and troweling, which we got back to all too soon. Adam and I are working in a section in the middle of the trench, between the 19th-century drainage pipes and the outer wall of the Georgian manor house. This particular stretch is believed to be a continuation of the deposition pit to the far north of the trench, and has so far yielded animal bone and slate in abundance. I also uncovered a piece of decorated floor tile, which despite being smaller and less decorated than the piece Dave excavated is definitely just as good, and I am in no way jealous. Honest.

In summary, plenty of bones have been found but still no dinosaurs.

Site now open to visitors!

You can now come visit the Grosvenor Park excavations and see Team 2014 in action!

Although Grosvenor Park remains closed, you can now enter through the gate behind St John's as indicated by the blue marker on the map below.

This will be open to visitors Monday to Friday, 10am - 4pm.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Day 6: After the flood

After the flood, finally Team 2014 get a sunny break. Quick, trowels out before the weather gods change their minds!

The second week of the dig continues and it's safe to say I'm thoroughly enjoying being an archaeologist! After becoming one with the rain yesterday, we were all glad of some real work to do today. The morning brought puddles of muddy water, which were cleared quite efficiently with a good dose of teamwork! Before lunch, troweling commenced on the quickly drying areas of the site - the best way to work up an appetite in my opinion. This afternoon (after a...lovely lunch) Team C were washing finds at Albion Street, a surprisingly relaxing and valuable learning experience. We were also introduced to the somewhat frustrating process of labeling finds, but important for post-excavation. All in all, a good start to the second week of excavation, and fingers crossed for more lovely weather in the coming days!

After the setback of yesterday's severe weather, the weather gods smiled upon us and it felt great to get stuck in straight away today. As the last of the topsoil has been removed from the site we're now ready to begin further excavation. This process involves a lot of trowel work, scraping back layers of sediment in order to expose any potential archaeology beneath the surface. This can be quite a slow, meticulous task, but well worth the effort as it leads to the discovery of finds that otherwise could be missed. The finds recovered today included a number of animal bones found across the site, a number of animal teeth and a fragment of jaw found by Matt.

Today was one of the most rewarding days of the dig so far. After bailing out the trench, we began troweling which led to finding my first artefact, a small piece of bone. The discovery of this simple artefact filled me with a feeling of pride and excitement which encouraged me to keep going. Let's see what tomorrow brings!

Monday, 12 May 2014

Day 5: Hail Caesar

The weather was even more Cestrian than usual, with a particularly bad afternoon hailstorm driving Team 2014 indoors...

Nathaniel mastering the art of bone-washing

Bit of wet weather today so we had to wait the morning for the conditions to improve. Getting on site in the afternoon, most of the trenches were filled with water which prevented us from working straight off, and a bit of teamwork was needed, forming human chains to bucket the water out of the trenches. Luckily the area I was working on was finished so was able to trowel till break, finding a lot of charcoal and a few large pieces of bone. Unfortunately the rain joined by a bit of thunder and hail came along soon after, resulting in an early day for the diggers.

Slow start to the morning as the rain caused us to be stuck inside (thankfully), leaving us to complete section drawings and fill the silence with classic banter. Following lunch when everyone went back to a presumably filthy site, me and the rest of the A team headed off to our finds processing station to work on cleaning and cataloguing finds from last week. Bones were cleaned, hail was avoided, tunes were belting and once again, banter was had. Good day.

A smorgasbord of finds from Week 1