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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Thursday, 19 May 2016

The Ham, the Gherkin and the Mac.

Thursdays are always the hardest, the day before the last day before the weekend. You want rest, but you can’t rest, not yet.

The dig has slowed down a bit since last week, we’re doing a lot less heavy lifting and a lot more trowelling – at least we look like real archaeologists now (but we gotta cut down on the burgers, sadly).

Today Simon had us move around the trench, digging different places to get a feel for the site. Group C got split, so Nick and I worked on the assumed fill of the wall to the chapel. It was really rocky and full of rubble, the aim was to get it all out (it took longer than we expected it to). But Nick likes to be a macho man and took over the mattock straight away and began attacking the ground. Fun to watch, but there was a lot of rock hard, baked soil just being thrown into anyone’s face if they got closer than 2 metres. 

A lot of bone appeared around the ditches from the Johnathon and Yash (the other part of Group C), but not much else was found. Nothing pretty enough for me to talk about anyway! 

Unfortunately we did have to end the day early today since the rain wanted to either 1. Drown us or 2. Make us slip with mattocks in our hands. We couldn’t quite decide which one it was, but it as a fun day, lots of interesting stories told about foods and rain coats. 

It’s coming to the end of the second week and so far it’s been so much fun, so much banter with our supervisors. The public have been amazing, they’re always so interested in everything we say and it’s nice to hear that we’re doing a good job.

 It’s quite surreal seeing how far we’ve come from first year, not knowing how to do anything on a site, it’s really something that I feel I can be proud of. Being onsite with everyone has been really enjoyable and we’re definitely getting close and closer by the day

Not going to forget that Caroline is an amazing human being who provides us with snacks, and I will always be forever grateful for those doughnuts. ALWAYS.

We just had lots of laughs and banter in the rain, keeping each other happy while we crawled around in the mud.” – Shaun Parry 


Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Day 8: Trench warfare, the enemy, the clay


The day began with the mighty team E being allocated finds duty, washing identifying and recording finds from various contexts across the site including items such as bone, pottery and glass.


This led to many amazing revelations including our very own Callum’s discovery of the fact that hot water is indeed hot. 

During first break we ventured to the site see what the other trowel monkeys had been up to, mainly carrying on the valiant fight against sun hardened clay or in the case of team A recording their finely trowelled features. 

After another stint at the finds washing HQ we returned to site where we discoveredthat team C had commandeered our allocated trench space and continued our glorious work of trowling to find the uniform charcoal layer that appeared across it. 


Team D continued work on excavating a cross section of a pitas well as defining the edge of one of the ditches and Matt doing his finest to mattock through a nigh on invincible lump of ground


The day continued with mostly run of the mill site work although the rare and majestic species of Chester lecturers did bless us with their presence and teams B and A did some marvellous work in the public relations department. 

All in all not the most exciting of days but progress has certainly been made! Onwards to Thursday and the discovery of more Archaeology! 

Lee and Iwan


The most concentration applied so far on site.

The face of an enraptured man.

The planning frame above the potential oven, majestically trowelled

Jack giving a rough indication of the location of the inner core of a cows horn Jonathan found.


Team B continued to fight the good fight against the clay around the Roman road.

Matt’s Mattock action shot

Shaun evening out his tan and engaging the public at the same time, a truly talented individual.  

The beginning of trowel wrist.

Today was pretty much a continuation from yesterday with team B (the best team) working on the roman road and the roadside ditches with everybody working on their own areas in the trench. Rachel and I were hunting for stones the whole day (with only a small amount of success and multiple shouts of “Stones” being shouted across the site) and Bethany and Bryony were excavating part of the roman road with a pretty awesome find of two connected vertebrae bones!

Some really cool things are starting to appear now with the hearth coming out at the far end of the site and next to the hearth the end of the medieval building is starting to appear! There have been some interesting finds such as teeth, pottery and lots and lots of bone!

We spent the day laughing a joking and some of us sat in wheelbarrows in the breaks! This dig is starting to shape up to be an amazing experience with some amazing people and I’m looking forward to spending the next few weeks on the site.

Blog again soon, 


Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Day 7: Biscuits, buttons and bribery

The realisation that archaeologists are fuelled entirely by biscuits and doughnuts has come as something of a revelation. You may not realise, but were it not for the humble peak frean assortment, little excavation work would ever take place.  So it’s thanks to Caroline and Meggen and their regular biscuit deliveries that we’ve progressed as far as we have.

To the excavation which, despite the risk of type 2 diabetes, enthusiastically continues. The finds are coming thick and fast, predominantly animal bone with a fair representation of Roman, medieval and post medieval potsherds all within similar contexts. This latter point is absolutely in keeping with the nature of the site which has been subject to periods of intense activity over course of almost 2000 years, with objects being churned around within the soil as building works displaced them from their original resting places. Aside from the more commonly found artefacts we continue to unearth what might be considered more interesting pieces on a daily basis, today this rather wonderful medieval button found in the chapel area by Group E, tomorrow who knows?

As a final note, it continues to be an utter pleasure speaking to the numerous people who pass through the park daily and express an interest in what we’re up to. It would seem that archaeology fascinates and captures the imagination of a wide array of people from all age groups and nationalities, so please if you are in or around Chester in the next couple of weeks, pop down, say hello and we will speak to you and show you many things. 

We will of course have many more things to show you should you decide to bring biscuits with you.


Monday, 16 May 2016

Day 6: Week Two!

After an extremely lazy weekend of takeaways and relaxing, we're starting week 2 slightly refreshed and less painfully sun burnt. Despite those early morning Monday blues, this week has marked the beginning of cleaning the finds, as we ditched our trowels for toothbrushes. The meticulous process of cleaning has allowed us to see the colourful pottery, glass, tobacco pipes a lot clearer, as they also appear to be the most prominent finds on site including animal bone fragments, so far! 

As we have only just begun to touch new archaeology so there'll be loads more to clean and discover! Meanwhile the majority of our concerns feature; which fast food chain we're going to consume for lunch today before we return back to the site to continue to unearth new archaeology! - Bettie!


So week 2 started pretty nicely! After a therapeutic morning cleaning finds, we scrapped our cleaning equipment for our trusty trowels! - time for some more digging of course. Which luckily, turned out to be a beautiful day in the sun getting down and dirty. 

The afternoon was spent carrying on digging from where we left off from the end of week one. It's proved fascinating to say the least, as we have managed to clear the area of any remaining backfill and clay to reveal a feature that is significant to the roman road. 

Today was a great day digging and we did also manage to find some bone fragments such as tooth as well as some small remains of pottery- in all a pretty good day of both cleaning finds from the previous week and managing to reveal more of the features that lay next to what seems to be some awesome archaeology!

 Finally, happy birthday to Jack, who was sporting a lovely pink feather bower on site! Hope you had a great day J man.


Bettie and Shaun