Thursday 16 July 2009

Binchester Day Twenty-nine

We really seem to be making inroads into the site at the moment; cobbled surfaces are being removed and features being dug. The stone-capped pit continues to grow and has produced another nice find: a lovely copper-alloy thimble. More features are being defined in the northern compartment of the main building; the beam slot showed up really nicely today in today's damp conditions. Work on the big feature to the south of the flagged surface has also been continuing, with stones being removed. What looks like a stone base is starting to emerge, though there is much to do in excavating in this large feature. On the eastern side of the side the features cut into the tail of the rampart have been planned and photographed. Nearby, a sondage on the southern side of the wall of the smaller structure is trying to assess the depth to which the wall survives. It would be great to get some solid dating evidence from this. We'll need to make sure any internal occupation deposits are adequately seived to retrieve material suitable for C14 dating. Not all the action happens in the trench; we've been making great strides with washing and marking the pot and bone. We need to make sure we keep on top of this aspect of the work to save time on the post-excavation later.

We also had another VIP visit today; we showed the Vice Chancellor of Durham University and his wife around the site, and explained our plans for developing the project and the site in future years. I hope he left enthused by our own excitement about Binchester and what it has to offer!


  1. Still very much enjoying the daily updates. Fun to "watch" it unfold. Do the medieval/post-medieval pits respect the lines of the old Roman walls? Or is it kind of higgledy-piggledy? Just wondering if you're finding evidence that the old Roman works were consciously being reused -- whether walls were still intact & definable some 1000 years after the end of Roman rule. Or if it was just a mash of stone-robbing & random pit-digging.

  2. Hi, there is certainly some clear evidence for the robbing of walls for stone, though it was very ad hoc in nature. For example, in some places they have just taken the facing stones from one side of the wall and not the other. I suspect that there was so much stone available at the site that they weren't terribly fussed about getting every last bit of stone out. Even if the walls weren't visible at ground surface, the remains of the ramparts are clearly visible in places and the site was likely to have been well known as a Roman site.