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Showing posts from 2017
We're back for our 12th season. Keep up to date with all the discoveries, brought to you by our daily bloggers.
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Day 17 Friday madness, ice lollies and the pub!

Jess reports…
Friday morning dawned bright and sunny yet again, and students buzzed around the site filled with the “Friday Madness”. Team A spent the morning keeping cool in the shade of the Pavilion for their last finds session. This entailed bagging ‘small finds’ into individual bags and writing designated labels that separated them from the bulk finds. Once this was done, we continued to wash some finds, there’s something weirdly satisfying about cleaning animal teeth with a toothbrush! The afternoon was then spent back in the trench and Team A were set to take down the surface surrounding a pit with mattocks. Despite the heat of the sun, we powered through and removed bucket after bucket of the baked clay surface. With only one or two injuries, the banter stayed high and the Friday madness continued. A highlight of the afternoon, however, was the delivery of ice lollies from Amy, they made the work a lot easier! The end of the afternoo…
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Some highlights from this year's finds...join us for our Open afternoon, Tuesday 30th May from 1.30pm to hear more...

This carved stone, probably an architectural fragment of Norman date, has just started to be uncovered in our new trench where it has been re-used in a later feature...



A Jetton: a French late medieval counter

A beer bottle with a witch logo

A fragment of ‘Facon de Venise’ wine glass, from the late C16th/early C17th


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Day 15 and 16 have been scorchers but we're still working hard…we host some visitors and the surface of the Roman road is reached... Emily… Today brought more sun and more finds, group E spent the morning doing our last finds session where we completed our interpretations of the contexts and bagged them up with small finds labels. We then began to select pieces to reference for our end of dig portfolio. After lunch we moved back to site to continue work on establishing the boundaries of the Roman road, where we found some more building material, pottery and animal bone.

Steph…

Day 16 of the dig was certainly the hottest so far! Steph and Victoria cleared back the sandstone covering more of the Roman road, with tough mattocking as the ground was baked hard. After some much needed ice lollies and shade more of the Roman road was revealed. Which consisted of sandstone rocks and pebbles. Finds from this context included Roman glass, Samian pottery, bone and lead. We were visited by s…
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Day 14 and things are hotting up on site…

Jack… Today's main site lesson was the use of sun-cream! It was a very hot day on site making all the soil types incredibly dry and hard to excavate through. This didn’t stop our group though as we started to excavate down over the rest of the previously revealed Roman road so we could begin to see its full extent and hopefully find evidence of a road-side structure or building! Finds included numerous pieces of animal bone and pottery ranging from the medieval period and the Roman occupation as we got closer to the road’s surface. The standout find today from trench 7 was a possibly Viking or early medieval stone bead, which trench supervisor Dave was particularly fond of!
All round a very warm day of excavation but looking forward to the rest of the final full week on site.
Max… Today we cleared some remaining rubble and fully exposed the linear brick feature in trench VIII. The team then drew corresponding site plans and documented the fin…
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Day 13 brings animal magic and marks the start of our last full week of digging…

Sarah... The last week begins! A morning clearing up the newly exposed brick feature in trench 8 with large numbers of animal bones being recovered and saved from the mattock blade. Quite the coincidence as group D spent the afternoon exploring the complexities of animal bone identification.

Tricky but intriguing work, followed by some photographic recording of both the brick and sandstone features appearing in the east end of the trench. The mysterious brick feature will hopefully reveal its purpose as the week goes on... 




Victoria B…

The start of the final full week brought the promise of sun. Team A started the day off by cleaning up a section ready for recording. After morning tea break, several groups went to the pavilion to learn about animal bone and how to identify the major bones within a mammal and some differences between species. In the afternoon, recording of the newly exposed contexts began…
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Day 12 Finds and features for a feel good Friday! Matt, Abbi and Amelia report…

Matt... Friday morning saw Neil and I mattocking away at the densest part of the demolition layer in Trench VIII, with detectorist Colin nimbly avoiding the swinging blades to check newly exposed layers for metal finds. The quantities of roof slate, mortar and brick made for hard-going and comparatively few finds other than animal bone and the odd rusted nail. Even our ever-present friends the clay pipes seem to have deserted us; maybe an indication that we’re reaching 16th century layers that pre-date widespread tobacco smoking. One new find was the discovery of three striped escargot snail shells, close to a cluster of oyster shells. Classed as neither fish nor meat, snails made the ideal snack food for Lent, though they might be eaten year-round by the poorer members of society. Group B’s afternoon was spent classifying and marking the finds we’d previously cleaned. Splitting them first by material type (c…
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Day 11 Rain's about? All-in-One’s out! Jess and Sophie tell us how archaeologist’s cope with the British weather…

Jess… For today’s archaeologists, it was a typical British Summer’s day; we all rocked up to site keeping cool with sleeveless tops and cold coffees and by twelve o’clock the world decided to rain on our parade, literally. Team A kicked the day off by splitting into two smaller teams, and whilst Sophie and Amelia discovered the secrets that lay within a pit, the rest of us spent time plotting and planning the charcoal and sandstone deposits within the trench. Using specialised equipment such as a dumpy level, and measuring pole, the site’s height above sea level was recorded and added to the drawings in order to compile a fuller understanding of the site. It was during this that the rain poured on us and Steph finally got to try her all-in-one waterproof, much to the delight of the rest of us! The afternoon brightened up and we all complained, once again, about the heat…
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Day 10 Ben and Steph report on a damp but productive day…

Ben… Wednesday was another damp day, but the weather didn't stop us unearthing some great finds! Matt and I found keys (still no locks though), but the star find of today has to be the four dice dug out of the building's hearth (evidently a poor roll). They were probably used for a game like Hazard, but I'm holding out for Dungeons and Dragons.

Steph… It was a chilly day on site for day 10 of the dig, with a bit of rain, but still plenty of work was going on. Team A spent the morning planning and drawing sections on site to record the Roman features we have discovered. In the afternoon we were finds processing, practicing marking finds with the site code and context number, ready for specialists to look at. The finds being washed and marked included clay pipe, pottery, roof and floor tile and building material. Other groups also planned parts of the site and continued to excavate. Hopefully the sun will come out tomorro…
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Day 9 on the training dig and Megan comes face to face with a lion!

Megan… The rain this morning made working in the uneven, old trench difficult, so half of Team C moved over in to this year's new trench where they had reached a 17th century context. Our day was centred around starting to work through the demolition layer, removing lots of bricks, slate tiling and mortar. In the section of the trench we were working in was a series of sandstone blocks which appear to be aligned into some kind of linear feature, so we left these in place for now. In terms of artefacts, our finds tray was almost overflowing by five o'clock, with a real mix of items including a small copper alloy token, some medieval window glass, multiple animal bones, and these fragments of 17th Century bellarmine vessel.

 The most aesthetic object I found today has to be this glass object decorated with lion's faces. According to our finds expert, it would have been part of the stem from a fancy, relativ…
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Day 8 metalling and metal detectors…Jack and Pauline report on the start of a new week and uncovering a new section of Roman road...

Jack… It's the start of a new week and after a successful week last week our team was ready to continue with the further excavation of trench 7. This meant the continued excavation and clean-up of the newly revealed Roman road found only on Friday by our team! It was really exciting to be able to uncover a feature that hadn’t been seen since the time it was last used during the Roman occupation of Britain. The road has also already produced some amazing finds including decorated pieces of Samian ware and a copper-alloy coin! The coin will hopefully be in good enough condition to be able to roughly date the road by the figure on the coin. Hopefully with further excavation more of the road and its size will be found and allow interpretation of its usage. Let's just hope the rain doesn't hinder us in finding any more exciting finds!
Pauline… Today C…
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Day 7 of our training dig and the end of the first full week…Victoria and Neil describe their day…

Victoria B… The end of the first week has rolled around quickly. Team A entered the trench this morning with a positive attitude ready to excavate the possible pit that was exposed yesterday. The going was tough but after getting through an inch or so of baked soil, it became much easier to remove. Throughout the day more of the pit was exposed and the later culvert and land drain removed. This pit has so far revealed several pieces of black burnished ware including a handle. Friday has been an eventful day and fun even with the turn of the weather. Neil…

Our day in Grosvenor Park started under grey skies and a light drizzle was falling as we entered the Chester University Experiential Learning Archaeological site. The site has  produced finds relating to Cromwell and the English Civil War, from medieval Chester and back as far as the Roman period, all in just over a week! The archaeological…
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Day 6: Everyone knows archaeologists dig, but did you know we also clean?Matt, Peter, Abbi and Amelia report on another cracking day on site and the latest finds from the Roman period to the Civil War…

Matt…
Day six of the dig has been very much about cleaning; cleaning finds and cleaning trenches. Group B spent the morning sat at washing bowls full of water with toothbrushes in our hands, carefully scrubbing centuries of mud from artefacts recovered during the first week. Making sure to leave fragile late medieval glass and a corroded iron horseshoe to one side, we worked our way through sacks of finds, taking care to keep track of labels telling us which trench and layer items have come from. Decorative patterns appeared from under mud on tobacco pipes, and pottery glazes from custard yellows to acid greens brightened the finds trays. The afternoon saw Neil and I back working on the narrow 19th century land drain trench that we’d spent the previous day excavating, this time cleanin…
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Jess, Sophie and Victoria report on a scorching day 5 full of levelling and finds washing… Jess... Today’s day on site started with murmurings of “Have you seen how hot it’s going to be?!” and “Do you have any suncream?” as we all anticipated another scorching day in the sun; we soon settled though and got stuck in for another day in Grosvenor Park. Team A revisited yesterday’s fresh section and cleaned the area to reveal a clay-like surface which we were itching to dig into and discover what lies beneath. The other groups persevered through the increasing heat and barrow after barrow was delivered to the spoil mountain. The rest of the morning was spent in the shade for team A, which was a little light relief, as we topped up our level (and maths!) reading skills. Using the base level just outside of the park, the readings were taken to note the height of the freshly cut trench. The remainder of the day was spent cleaning finds, but I’ll let Sophie talk to you about that excitement! Ov…
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Day 4 brought evidence for horses, board games and an apostle… find out more about this intriguing combination from Ben, Steph and Max…
Ben… Today was a bit cooler than the other days have been but we didn't let that stop us. The central part of the trench was cleared of rubble and detritus, revealing the plaster and brick beneath. As always, clay pipe fragments were everywhere but more unusual artefacts were also uncovered. Jamie found a horse shoe (perhaps related to the copper alloy spur?), and me and Pauline both found gaming counters. Matt found a spectacular purple-patterned piece of pottery. As well as these leisure items, I uncovered more martial artefacts: another musket ball, small and ceramic so likely used in canister shot, and a lead lid from an 'apostle', a gunpowder container worn on a bandolier.





Steph…  Day four of the dig was another lucky day of sunshine and ice creams, the public showed a keen interest in what we were doing and many of us were on hand to…