Community Dig News (Week 2)

Day 7 – 1 October. Work is concentrated in three trenches, with digging of half sections along some lengths and spot features in others. Part of a ditch, possibly pre-Roman, is uncovered in a section of Trench 2 while another section produces only a considerable number of pebbles. The largest pot base yet found emerges from Trench 6. A heavy shower slows progress in the afternoon.

A ditch feature is uncovered in Trench 2

A ditch feature is uncovered in Trench 2

Digging a half trench width in another section of Trench 2

Digging a half trench width in another section of Trench 2

Dave Read shows where he found a large pot base in Trench 6

Dave Read shows where he found a large pot base in Trench 6

Rob Horey and Barbara Harley-Woolley tackle Trench 5 after a heavy shower

Rob Horey and Barbara Harley-Woolley tackle Trench 5 after a heavy shower

Day 8 – 2 October. Steady rain in the early morning prevents any work to begin with, so everyone goes back to school for a lecture by Jon Webster on how to complete context sheets accurately. He stresses the importance of describing deposits by texture, colour, composition and inclusions (finds), as well as additional comments on factors that may affect the deposit, such as contamination from ploughed soil. Then on to identifying stratographic and physical relationships, which allow the evolution of the site to be analysed context by context, like separate frames in a film. Finally, interpretation – what the observer thinks happened within the feature. At the end of the session, everyone realises why filling in paperwork accounts for half the time spent on a dig.

 Luckily, by 11am the sun comes out and people are able to return to the trenches. The rest of the day is spent enlarging existing features, one section of Trench 2 revealing the cross-section of a Roman ditch. Some volunteers go with Jon to make an initial examination of Trench 8, the lowest lying of the excavations which, in the early days of the dig, was flooded by the River Severn.

Digging into a pit in Trench 5

Digging into a pit in Trench 5

Dark soil reveals part of a Roman ditch emerging from a section of  Trench 2

Dark soil reveals part of a Roman ditch emerging from a section of Trench 2

A selection of finds from the Roman ditch

A selection of finds from the Roman ditch

Day 9 – 3 October. Overnight rain makes some features waterlogged, but buckets and sponges soon get rid of the water and the underlying soil is easy to work. A productive day with many large segments of pot coming out of the ditch in Trench 2 and pits in Trenches 5 and 6.

More finds from the Roman ditch in Trench 2

More finds from the Roman ditch in Trench 2

Working on two features in Trench 6

Working on two features in Trench 6

Jon Webster explains the features in Trench 6 to landowner Nick Lechmere

Jon Webster explains the features in Trench 6 to landowner Nick Lechmere

Day 10 – 4 October. The archaeologists ensure that volunteers meticulously record progress in each feature. A finely decorated piece of Samian ware is found in the ditch of Trench 2, Trench 6 yields the major part of a black burnished ware pot and almost at the end of the day the largest segment of pot yet found emerges from Trench 2.

Digging and recording in Trench 2

Digging and recording in Trench 2

Paul Denning and Jane Hennessy record progress in Trench 6

Paul Denning and Jane Hennessy record progress in Trench 6

This decorative piece of Samian ware from Trench 2 may be from a fruit bowl

This decorative piece of Samian ware from Trench 2 may be from a fruit bowl

Samian ware base with maker’s stamp, possibly from the same bowl

Samian ware base with maker’s stamp, possibly from the same bowl

Base of a black burnished ware pot from Trench 6

Base of a black burnished ware pot from Trench 6

Day 11 – 5 October. A start is made on cleaning Trench 3 by boys from Hanley Castle High School and quite soon they find a piece of stone-age worked flint. Work continues in the other trenches, recording and recovering finds.

Boys from Hanley Castle High School work in Trench 3

Boys from Hanley Castle High School work in Trench 3

A large segment of storage jar found in Trench 2

A large segment of storage jar found in Trench 2

Pieces of Severn Valley ware and a Roman nail found in Trench 2

Pieces of Severn Valley ware and a Roman nail found in Trench 2

Day 12 – 6 October. The community dig Open Day when Roman pottery expert Dr Jane Evans talks about finds at Hanley Castle High School and visitors are taken on conducted tours of the site by archaeologists Derek Hurst and Jon Webster. Volunteers continue working in the trenches on the last day of the lottery-funded exercise. Since not all features have been fully recorded and interesting finds continue to be made, The Hanleys’ Village Society decides to fund a further four days of supervised digging, starting on 9 October.

Visitors to the Open Day at  Hanley Castle High School

Visitors to the Open Day at Hanley Castle High School

Dr Jane Evans examines a substantial piece of Malvernian ware, possibly part of a bread oven

Dr Jane Evans examines a substantial piece of Malvernian ware, possibly part of a bread oven

Visitors look at the work being done in Trench 6

Visitors look at the work being done in Trench 6

Jane Hennessy and Dave Read uncover large pieces of pot

Jane Hennessy and Dave Read uncover large pieces of pot

For news of Week 1 click here.

For news of Week 3 click here.

Click on any of the above pictures to view a larger version or watch on the slideshow below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s