Tuesday 7 June 2016

Binchester 2016: Day 1

So , we being our new series of project blog entries- today, we hear from Madelaine Ager, one our First year archaeology students:

“It’s the beginning of the fieldwork season and it has fallen to me to start off the blogging of what’s going on at Binchester. Yesterday, our first day on site, the main activity was cleaning the whole site using hoes and shovels. This was an important step because it allowed us to see far more clearly any differences in soil types which might indicate the presence of a feature. Once the site was cleaned small sections containing possible features were marked off and work began on clearing those to determine types of soil and the boundaries between them. The section on which I was working initially showed signs of a ditch running across it but once we had cleared it there was no trace of a boundary. We found sherds of pottery and ceramic building material, as well as bone fragments in our section. We continued our work searching for the boundary today, and our section was merged with the next one because the features appeared to be intersecting. Eventually we came upon the boundary between the dark fill soil and the gravel with our mattocks. We then cleaned up the area using trowels which allowed us to see the boundaries more clearly and define them. “

We should perhaps add,  yesterday was one of the hottest days we’ve ever had on site, and for many of our student it was their first day working on an archaeological project. They worked like Trojans and deserve a hearty pat on the pack (and probably a 99 with a flake!).

Back to Binchester: New season, New trench.

Yes, we're back! Although last year saw the end of our seven seasons of excavation on trenches in the vicus and inside the fort, we're still not finished with Vinovium. This year, we're going back to look at an area close the mausolea that were excavated by Time Team in 2007 (you can see the result of some of the GPR work they did here).

Rather than re-excavating the Time Team trenches, we are looking at an enclosure behind the one that contained the original mausolea structures. Unlike previous years, we are running on a much smaller scale, with just three weeks in the field for the next two summers. We'll also have a reduced team, with around 40 students and 10-15 volunteers. In another change, although we'll be continuing to regularly update the blog, it will now be done by different groups of students each day, with just the occasional intervention from myself (David Petts) or other members of the project team.

As usual, we'll also be updating our Facebook page and our Twitter feed (@RomanBinchester).