CAER 2017 Begins... Thursday 4th May!

CAER 2017 Begins... Thursday 4th May!
What will be uncovered this year?
We're back for our 11th season during which examination of trench IV will be continued. Our work will examine the interior of the masonry building (the possible chapel) with its drain discharging into the ditch, the western part of the ditch feature where it is overlain by the medieval building and the underlying deposits. This year trench IV will also be extended to the south in order to locate and examine a stone structure identified during the excavation of a service trench in 2013.
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Friday, 13 May 2011

Friday 13th's lucky - timber building??

Day 3 -
Heidi gives us an update -
Definitely not an unlucky day for the archaeologists! Another productive day turning up many finds and uncovering several features. Various activities were carried out across the site including excavation, levelling and plan drawing with everyone getting stuck in with enthusiasm. In spite of a bit of rain all of the students enjoyed themselves and the archaeology is beginning to take shape. A number of stone plinths, possibly once supporting a timber framed building were uncovered early in the day along with sections of flooring, demolition rubble and a possible brick entranceway or path associated with the building. It is early days yet but the evidence seems consistent with material from Cholmondeley Manor and outbuildings with other features appearing in the area.

Everyone worked through the afternoon with good cheer after being lifted by a lunchtime game of ball in the park. As the day drew to a close Simon summed up the archaeology everyone trudged off optimistic about the events of the week and those yet to come.

And Tom gives us his take on the day -
Even with the weather not making up its mind, the teams rolled with the punches and got stuck in with the excavation. Team A was Levelling, while both B and C were site drawing. Throughout the day team D were trowelling back to get a view of the site as a whole.
There was an enormous amount of finds today. Though most were from the mid 1600s, there were some surprises in store for the teams. Roman sherds from black burnished wear and mortaria were found in this layer.
There have also been some interesting features emerging. We believe that we have found structural evidence of a building that was here during the 1600s. Hopefully as the excavation progresses we will be able to see this better.
Another fruitful day in the Grosvenor Park excavation.
Day 2 continued
Katie S. reports from the trench -
The morning started with everyone cleaning the trench; this is to reveal the archaeology ready for excavation. I must have been a bit too excited to use my trowel for the first time as I accidently cut two of my fingers whilst clearing the soil. There were definitely bricks and slate present, but any finds that were not part of the soil we were clearing were left untouched. After lunch I, along with my group, went to refresh our memories on Levelling with Simon and we were later joined by some nosey squirrels.
Whilst doing this we had some rain which was no surprise as it had been overcast all day. Then it was back to help everyone in the trenches again. Near the end of the working day Andrew and I, with the help of Simon, filled in a context record for the area we were working in. I am very much looking forward to the next few weeks and learning further skills, but also discovering the archaeology in the trench and what information it will reveal.

Who needs skin on their fingers, anyway?

Day 2

Bev reports from the 'naughty corner' -

The day started with some 'light' excavation (more like cutting through concrete with a toothpick!). After removing the skin off our fingers for an hour, Ali discovered a sherd of her favourite pottery - Black Burnished Ware! Hmm.... a tad out of place given the deposit we are excavating; perhaps the landscaping of the park had a hand in its deposition.

Aside from an informative tutorial on site photography, the highlight of the day was Mark's audition for 'Swan Lake' when trying to exit the trench!

Our finds of the day were medieval floor tile fragments and a complete thimble!

PS - I feel obliged to mention the vast amount of clay pipe fragments Ali and I uncovered. Yes, it seems we have located the 17th c. 'Behind the bike sheds, smoker's corner!'

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Second Hand Archaeology

Day 2
Dig Director Simon introduces us to the trench -
Work has successfully started for the new season blessed by some fine weather with the odd shower to keep the site moist. We have reopened Trench IV, which we last looked at back in 2008. It is an area that has great potential with loads of demolition material from the mansion destroyed during the Civil War in 1645 and the hope that a Roman road passes under it. The process of emptying out the old backfill (mainly by machine but finished off by students) has produced quantities of finds even though it had been excavated before (that's the second hand archaeology!). Our metal detectorist, Colin, has found a quantity of musket balls from the Civil War, whilst the students have found lots of pottery and clay tobacco pipes from the period.
Now we have cleared that away, we are on to the serious stuff, cleaning up new undisturbed layers.
More updates soon!
Julie sums up the day's events -
As well as clearing out the backfill, everyone was introduced to context recording sheets today and refresher sessions on using the dumpy level were started with Lewis, Joseph, Adam and Tom setting up a new temporary benchmark for the site. The Park started getting busy this afternoon with people enjoying the sunshine and many of them stopped by the trench to ask what we were doing, including one small boy and his dad visiting from Scotland.
Colin and the students found quite a variety of finds in the backfill. Apart from the lead shot, there was also the cap from a gunpowder flask, which is about the fourth one we've found in the Park. Amongst all the modern coins was a coin of Elizabeth I and Colin also found a coin weight (more information to come on that one). Lots of clay pipe fragments, including several with stamped marks and decoration, and some that appear to be wasters from the many tobacco pipe kilns that were once in this area of the city.
Amongst the fragments of pottery are the handle from a 16th century Raeran stoneware mug, the rim and handle fragments from 16th century Cistercian-type ware cups and a nice little fragment from a North Devon slipware dish.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011