Wednesday, 29 September 2010
Saturday, 11 September 2010
Ooooo errrr! Yes indeedy, just time for a quicky update from me. You may (or probably may not) have been wondering where I have been for the past month or so, well the answer is ... Caerleon! Yes, I have been digging part of the Roman Fortress of Caerleon, or Isca as it was then known, which is in South Wales near to Newport. I shall update you on all of the wonderful things we found soon, and no, not just shiney things but lots of amazing archaeology! Just one week left of the dig now, which is a joint dig between Cardiff University and UCL, so that will be 6 weeks worth of hard work that I need to fill you all in on!
Before this I also spent the day digging in Ammanford near Swansea, this was a mote and bailey castle which was subject to a week long excavation to see what remains of the castle. From what I dug during my brief stay the answer appears to be,"not much!" but it was a great oppertunity to have a play in the mud and learn to use the E.D.M a little.
Back to work early tomorrow so Im signing off for now!
Keep on digging!
Archaeology Bee x
Saturday, 28 August 2010
Sunday, 4 July 2010
Monday, 14 June 2010
This is another one of the areas (photo below) where we have been cleaning back. You can see the possible demolition remains of another wall running diagonally across the corner. The roots here were a nightmare! We had to cut some of these with pruning scissors but some of the bigger ones had to be sawn out. I felt a bit guilty about the tree but he's a big boy and I'm sure he can cope with the ones left. Three of us were cleaning this section back and the area where the stone is starting to taper off is where poor Jas had moved over so I could work ... and also the area where I then flicked out a silver threepence piece!!!! (I am so sorry Jas! I know how annoying it is to be moved then the person who takes over finds something!!) More details of the coin in the finds section at the end!
This is the cleared out trench (below) from last year that we were working on yesterday. All of the protective covering is still down, I cant wait to take it off and see what is underneath! Obviously our edges need sorting out but our main aim was to get the bulk of the fill out to begin with, the edges couldn't be done until we found the sides! The area where the coin was found is the section off to the right in the front of the picture. Hopefully you can picture the layout a little better if I try and describe it until I draw a rough plan of everything for you. The deep trench that you can see at the back of the picture running off to the left is shown in the next photo along. They form a long T shape across our area.
This photo below is the other arm of the T shape which I told you about. You can see the sides cut nice and clean along this trench. This helps in the same way as cleaning the flat horizontal surfaces, you can see the different layers of soil, in which order they formed, from which direction soil was washed into ditches ... it is really important to keep these clean when you are trying to interpret formation processes or even work out where or what to dig next. You can see most of the team here hard at work!! (Apart from me who was bunking off taking pictures!)
These photos below are some of the bulk finds which have been found over the three days. They include various iron objects, animal remains and pottery
The photo below is I believe a tooth from a sheep and a bone from a young sheep. (although I may be wrong, small bones are quite hard to identify as a particular animal unless you specialise in studying them) These were found in the fill of the trenches from last year.
These finds below are again from the backfill, as you can see the bag has been labelled. Possibly a buckle and some kind of iron nail.
The next photo is of (mainly) pottery finds which can sometimes provide valuable dating evidence (although not on this particular occasion) There is also a small piece of bone.
Hopefully some more finds, walls and (fingers crossed) coins, tomorrow!!! I best get some sleep now as my muscles are wrecked from all of the shovelling!!
In this area we are uncovering where last years trench revealed a substantial wall, although the emptying seems like it is never ending it is surprising how much soil you can actually move. Our problem was the amount of huge stones and boulders that had been thrown back in to fill the trench. These slowed us down a lot but even then we made good progress.
What did we find today? As with yesterday, this work is removing soil that was dug out by archaeologists last year, so nearly all of the finds should have been spotted by them the first time around before the soil was put back in. However Amy here found a lovely pound coin. It seems one archaeologist was missing some beer money when they got to the pub last year!
Saturday, 12 June 2010
This year the dig is concentrating in the area where the manor house is believed to have stood. Our trench positioning was guided by both geophysics and also trial trenches that went in last year, revealing the remains of some substantial walls. The area is also labelled "Cosmeston Castle" on some old maps revealing what once may have stood there.
Most of the first day was spent setting up the site. The various large canvas tents had to be put up for areas to sort finds and almost as importantly to make a nice cup of tea! The weather was glorious which would be great if we weren't all working so hard! My first top tip for the budding archaeologist is WEAR SUN LOTION and reapply constantly!! I did not reapply and am now a shade somewhere between a beetroot and a lobster. It's seriously not good for your skin so please remember to cover up and apply sunblock.
Work on the trenches started after lunch. The area had been de-turfed previously which was great as it is a very large area to de-turf by hand. That alone would have probably taken the rest of the afternoon so it was a good job it was done before we got there! The aim for the afternoon was to clear out the backfill of the trenches from last year down to archaeology so we could begin the new work. It was hard going I can tell you! The trenches were full of huge rocks making it painfully slow to mattock and dig out.
I'm thinking we should be done clearing the backfill by lunch time tomorrow and then we can move onto more interesting things.
Nothing much finds wise to report today as it was all backfill and anything found was unstratified. However I did find some nice fossils which I took home and a small piece of Medieval roof tile which was coated on one side with a green glaze to my surprise. It is apparently a common feature of the high Medieval period, you learn something new every day!
Hopefully tomorrow may bring some new finds!
Friday, 11 June 2010
Egypt, forbear thy Pyramids to praise,
A barb'rous Work up to a Wonder raise;
Let Babylon cease th'incessant Toyl to prize,
Which made her Walls to such immensness rise!
Nor let th'Ephesians boast the curious Art,
Which Wonder to their Temple does impart.
Delos dissemble too the high Renown,
Which did thy Horn-fram'd Altar latelt crown,
Caria to vaunt thy Mausileum spare,
Sumptuous for Cost, and yet for Art more rare,
As not borne up, but pendulous i'th'Air
All works to Caesar's Theatre give place,
This Wonder Fame above the rest does grace.
The poem shows the hype which surrounded the buildings construction and opening. The claim by some scholars that the fame of the Colosseum is a purely modern phenomenon can be challanged to some degree by this book fo verse. Although Martial was obviously bias due to his role as the house poet of the Imperial Court, there is literary evidence to suggest that even later Emperors themselves (such as Constantius II) and visitors from other countries were left in awe by seeing the Colosseum. It seems that then, just as today, people were captivated by these magnificent buildings.
Monday, 7 June 2010
I would have liked to have done my dissertation on the importance of these discoveries but I think the publication will come too late in the year. I may look closer to home and work on the amphitheatre at Caerleon. The Legionary fortress at Caerleon here in South Wales is a place I am very fond of and which I highly commend for it's accessibility, to not only the general public but to many school groups who visit throughout the year. I will be excavating here during August and cant wait to get my trowel dirty!!
Anyway, back to Chester! I will be visiting the Amphitheatre for the third time on Friday and am being shown around by Alison Heke an archaeologist with Chester City Council who has been most helpful. She really has gone beyond the call of duty. Hopefully I will have some interesting photos and insights from my visit to talk to you about after Friday. Until then its back to the rather out-dated books for more research! If anything interesting comes up I shall let you all know!
Archaeology Bee is saying, "Good Night."
Saturday, 5 June 2010
Welcome to Archaeology Bee!
So why the Archaeology Bee I hear you ask? Well much like bees, archaeologists seem to be disappearing. There are theories as to why this is happening but again, much like the bees, no one seems to be doing much about it, or taking it very seriously. Who cares about a bunch of bees?
I however, unlike in the bee world, am at a disadvantage for being female. Far from the Queen bee here, I am probably not even classed as 'strong' enough to be a worker bee. In fact I get the feeling that I would be quite happily pushed out of the archaeology 'hive' completely and so I have something to prove - and prove it I will.
This blog will be about archaeology, history, heritage, people and me and my struggle to become an archaeologist. Some of the blogs will be general some of them specific to me, but hopefully all will be an enjoyable and informative read.