Wednesday 23 June 2010

Season Two: Day Twelve

Work is slow on site as we do lots of planning, so I though it be worth flagging up some of the other things going on with the project. One key aspect that will become increasingly important is the environmental aspect of the site. To date we've mainly been working on the highest layers cleaning and planning so we've been taking relatively few samples. However, as we start digging more features we are increasingly taking samples of soil for more detailed analysis to look for plant macrofossils, small animal bones etc back in our labs in Durham. In general, preservation does not appear to be great; we have quite acid soils and the site is very well drained as we sit on a gravel plateau. This means that we don't have many moist an-aerobic deposits which preserve organic remains. Sadly, this means we are unlikely to every find the "Binchester Tablets"- nonetheless, the large ditch may well preserve organic remains better and it is always possible we might find some wells (the whole issue of water supply is a vexed one). To prepare the students for future work on environmental archaeology, today we had a number of our BSc students in the labs having an introduction to environmental archaeology from Jacqui Huntley, the English Heritage Regional Science Advisor. We were also joined by members of our partner, the Archaeological and Architectural Society of Durham and Northumberland, who will get the chance to spend the next few days working wiht our students in the labs.

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