A hectic morning- multiple site tours and a meeting at Auckland Castle to plot and scheme. All our archaeology students finished at lunch time as its the last day of term. This afternoon there were only our volunteers on site (even Jamie and Beckah were skiving off), so it was all strangely quiet.
Nonetheless, work continued. In Trench 1, more of the same- more rows of post-holes coming up, clearly associated with areas of pavement. These are all part of the earliest timber barrack. Matt and I measured some levels across the trench this afternoon; the levels we are excavating at seem to be at the same height as the foundation courses of the north and east curtain walls, so it is unlikely that there is much more deep stratigraphy to unpick. Nonetheless, there are still plenty of features to dig over the coming weeks.
In Trench 2, once the students left, the bath-house was empty, although I think there are still some tasks to carry out in there, particularly some sub-floor furtling in the corridor. Along the side of the bath-house, we continue to reveal the road surfaces; in particular at the moment we are aiming to join up our road surface with the southern porch threshold. Along the south of the bath-house, our possible structure we looked at yesterday is still unclear, although we have uncovered a number of vertically pitched stones, which look like they may have formed some kind of structural base or support, although it is not clear whether this maps directly on to yesterday's proposed building. Next to it, and in the front of our post-hold structure, we're starting to uncover an interesting dump of burnt material. Excitingly, this appears to be clear evidence for metal working - in the space of 30 minutes it produced a fragment of a crucible and a crucible lid- a couple of years ago, some mould fragments came from the same area. The burnt material seems to contain small globules of copper alloy, so it is presumably the remains of Roman bronze working, although it is uncertain as yet whether this is a secondary dump of industrial waste, or if we'll come down onto a hearth. Interestingly, this industrial activity seems to have used coal as its main fuel.
This blog will share information about the major new field project at the Roman fort of Binchester (Co. Durham), run jointly by Durham County Council, the Dept. of Archaeology, Durham University, Vinovia.org, Texas Tech University and the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland. It will communicate news, events, and once the field season starts a daily update of the discoveries on site. To find out more visit our website