Thursday, 4 October 2018

Day 5 - Excavations at Muncaster Castle

 Trench 1 showing rubble on both sides of the culvert, with the path at the far end
Trench 2 having been backfilled already, we devoted all out attention to Trench 1. Removal of the base of the path at the east end of the trench revealed more rubble, presumably the same fill as that at the west end of the trench and in Trench 2. Whatever the rubble filled was a very large cut. Although we didn't find anything Roman during the excavation, there is clearly still lots of archaeology to investigate at Muncaster Castle.

The final day backfilling team: Len, Bryan, Rowan and Alan
All that remained to do was to backfill Trench 2, then off to the cafe for some cake!

Thanks to the 2018 excavation team: Bryan Antoni, Alan Bell, Cath Duncan, Anita Garnett, Bridget Gerry, Brian Kennish, Rowan May, Leo Saldanha, Doug Scales and Len Watson. Thanks also to Peter Frost-Pennington for his support and for letting us use the Castle's cafe; and to Sharon Arrowsmith, Muncaster Castle curator, for supplying information about the site. Roll on 2019!

Day 4 - Excavations at Muncaster Castle

 Anita, Bryan, Len and Bridget working in Trench 1
The main discovery in Trench 1 was that the culvert had been inserted into the rubble fill. It is likely that the rubble filled a large ditch heading towards the castle, and the culvert had be constructed to improve drainage.

Leo and Rowan working in Trench 2

All that remained to be done in Trench 2 was to record and backfill it. However, Leo managed to recover a fine collection of 18th century pottery from the rubble layer!

The next blog will sum up the four days of digging!

Day 3 - Excavations at Muncaster Castle

The culvert set into a thick rubble layer
We made good progress today, despite having to finish early due to the rain - at least the cafe was handy! Trench 1 was extended to the east to confirm that there was a gravel path heading towards the castle; presumably this was part of an earlier garden design.  At the other end of the trench, the rubble deposit west of the culvert proved to be very thick.

The rubble-filled cut in Trench 2
In Trench 2, the rubble layer was found to fill a large cut. The west edge of the cut was found, but not the east. It seems that the rubble layers in Trenches 1 and 2 fill the same, very large cut.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Day Two - Excavations at Muncaster Castle 2018

Bryan excavating the rubble layer alongside the culvert in Trench 1
Good progress was made in both trenches. In Trench 1, the culvert was found, complete with large cap stones. To one side, a layer of large stones appeared to fill a large mysterious cut. In Trench 2, a similar layer of stones was found, suggesting that the cut extends into that area and is quite large. So far, the finds suggest that the cut was filled in in the 18th or 19th centuries. Hopefully we will find out tomorrow what this feature is, weather permitting!

Leo and Rowan in Trench 2, with one of the massive stones in the fill visible in the foreground

Day One - Excavations at Muncaster Castle, 2018

 The excavation, with a fine view of Muncaster Castle
This year we are at Muncaster Castle, investigating the grounds just in case the Romans were here too.  Kurt and Bryan are back again, plus it's great to see Rowan return! 

After meeting up with the volunteers, we opened up two trenches: Trench 1 was laid out across a stone-lined culvert that had been located recently. Trench 2 was laid out to investigate an area of rubble nearby. We had managed to remove the topsoil in both trenches, despite occasional rainy spells.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Ravenglass 2017 - 17 Pot washing

Due to being a rather busy, Kurt and Sandra have only just got round to doing a bit of pot washing for the Ravenglass dig of 2017!

 Dirty finds!

Washing finds with a toothbrush

 Laid out to dry in trays - each tray contains finds from an individual context

He's found (and washed) a sherd of Samian ...

It's a base sherd of Samian with rilling as decoration ...
And the other side shows a foot ring.  The sherd is from either a bowl or shallow dish
So far, as well as Samian (2nd century), there's probable Muncaster Ware (typically friable when being washed), storage jar/amphora and fragments of Roman brick and tile. There's also some post medieval sherds, possibly from Staffordshire.
We'll need to wait until the pottery is dry, then we can mark it, count the number of sherds per context, bag it up, then weigh it by context. After that we will then ask a pottery expert to quote a price for writing up a report for us!   Sandra will do the brick and tile report.  Any small finds (eg. metals, glass, etc.) will need to be assessed to see if they need conservation and/or a specialist to look at them.