Today we finally started excavation on the fort. Forty-five single honours Archaeology undergraduates arrived on site this morning raring to go and ready to get stuck in. The topsoil had now been completely removed from most of the trench and it was already clear that a number of structural remains could be seen. Pleasingly, the rectangular structure visible on the GPR plot was clearly visible on the ground and, in places, areas of flagstone paving could still be seen. The main job for today was to give the site a thorough clean, removing the last of the topsoil and preparing the trench for planning. This cleaning stage took all today and will continue tomorrow. The structural remains are becoming better defined and a number of other potential features could be identified. It looks like we may have got the edge of a trench excavated in the 1930s by Kenneth Steer; it might be useful to reexcavate this to give us a proper section through the rampart. There is also a possible platform adjacent to the rampart, which may be a late Roman tower- we shall have to see whether this platform is indeed structural or just an area of collapese or rubble. We are already recovering a large quantity of pottery and tile, as well as small finds including iron nails, Roman window glass and, find of the day, a rather nice lozenge shaped enamel brooch. Its early days, but its shaping up to be a really exciting excavation. The key challenge is going to be with the weather; the site is a well-drained gravel plateau and I suspect we are going to have real problems with the site drying out.
Traces of the probable rectangular building, presumably a barrack block.