Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Day five - the final countdown ...

The final day on site had fine weather again. Remarkably, almost the entire week on site was dry, so we were lucky.

Test Pit 1 appears to have clipped a clay-line oven or kiln, with ash and charcoal layers suggestive of rakings-ou from the structure.

Test Pit 2 had a thick layer of ash found to over-lie the original Roman ground surface.

 TP5 - road surfaces overlying the base of the road

In Test Pit 5 a third layer of cobbles and pebbles prove to rest on a layer of boulders, apparently the base of a well-built road - presumably the main road north from the fort.  Probing indicated that the road was some 10 metres wide.

 Doug excavating the road base in TP5

In Test Pit 7, a post-hole and small ditch or beam-slot was cut into a layer of burnt clay.

From left to right: Doug, Steve, Bryan, Brian, Len, and Kurt at the Cafe

The trenches were then backfilled after tea and cake at the The Turntable Cafe at the La'al Ratty.

Alan, Len and Brian backfilling
That's the last day of digging news. Watch out for more posts about this season's campaign, including reports about the site finds, the Beach Walking finds, and Kurt's conclusions about the Test Pit excavations!

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Day Four - Nearly t-shirt weather!

Remarkably fine (almost t-shirt) weather today!

In TP1, Alan found a clay wall associated with ash and charcoal layers (raking out?).  Len found further ashy layers in TP2. 

Ashy, stony surface in TP2

Closer to the fort, Doug was down to his third layer of cobble surface in TP5. This is looking increasingly the Roman road running north from the fort.
 Another cobble surfce in TP5

In TPs 6 (Bryan) and 7 (Anita & Steve), layers of burnt clay indicate yet more industrial activity.

We're very grateful to Debbie for the donuts which finished demolishing today!

Meanwhile, the finds team (Brian and Sandra) have finally finished sorting out the beach walking finds, which are now ready for sending off to the specialists when we can afford it. It was satisfying to see all the boxes lined up!

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Day Three - Come on Aileen?

We were remarkably free from rain after missing Storm Aileen, but some of the trenches were flooded.
 Clay ?flue (right in section), ash & charcoal (left in section)

In TP1 there is a possible clay wall with layers of ash and charcoal alongside the flue of a furnace.

TP2 has more stony, ashy deposits

Doug cleaning the cobble surface in TP5

TP5 was opened and immediately a cobble surface was uncovered - could this be the main road north from the fort to Hadrian's Wall?

Hungry heron at the 4pm feed

The finds team, sadly missing Leo for the moment, continued to sort through the twenty boxes at Muncaster Castle.  Despite being distracted by the Bird Displays, Brian and Sandra managed to get through the bulk of the finds boxes today.  Tomorrow the last few objects will be listed. But how many herons will turn up at tomorrow's 4pm feed?

Day Two - Steady progress

The weather continues to hold, and it looks like we've got Roman archaeology.

A cobble surface in TP1

 There is a stony, ashy surface in TP2 - Len sieving

Doug digging in TP3 

And there's a culvert in TP4

The finds team (Brian and Sandra) have re-located to a room in Muncaster Castle to prepare twenty boxes of beach walking finds for sending off to specialists. Everything needs sorting into categories (pottery, brick & tile, etc.) and bagged up.

Brian on the steps to the temporary finds room

 Some of the twenty boxes to process

Some eight boxes were sorted by the end of the day - how many can Brian and Sandra do tomorrow?

Monday, 11 September 2017

Day One - Good weather, nice trenches and nicer people

We've opened four trenches (Test Pits 1-4) looking for more evidence of the Roman vicus north of the fort. Len, Les, Alan, Chris and Doug helped Bryan and Kurt with the digging.

Les and Len in TP2 admiring their finds

We have indeed found evidence of the Roman vicus in this area! It looks very promising and we hope make more interesting discoveries tomorrow.

Alan and Chris working

And here's Bryan shovelling enthusiastically

Meanwhile in the dig HQ Brian, Leo and Sandra were investigating the finds gathered from Ravenglass beach in recent years. They are preparing the finds to be sent to the specialists.  However, they came across a very strange find!  Comment on the blog if you think you know what it might be ...

It is made of ceramic and is a very strange shape  ...

On the underside, it looks like it may have been attached to something
What will tomorrow bring?