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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Saturday, 31 May 2014

Closing time

After a rigorous, laborious, mainly wet but sometimes sweltering hot, banter-filled season, the 2014 season of the CAER Project has now come to a close. But coverage doesn't end here - stay tuned for a summary of what we found, and what we plan to do next!

One last trowel-party to get the trench photo-ready

Don't sweat the technique

One wall of the possibly medieval structure, showing there's still plenty more to unearth next year...

And now with the last word from Team 2014:

After a tiring and challenging day, the four weeks of digging is now over *sobs*. Today wrapped up what has been an incredible experience for all of us.

In the morning, we started out by cleaning up our beloved site and making it suitable for photographic recording, which in itself was very exciting to do. We took site photos with SLR cameras and ensured the pictures were of the best quality!

After lunch, we were approached by a great amount of very interested public, who had made it just in time to share with us the last moments of our site. After this, we began covering our beautifully trowelled features to make way for the new eager archaeologists who will take our place next year! I wish them the best of luck and hope they have the same great experiences and memories as I have done these past four weeks.

Putting the site to bed before it gets backfilled by JCB
Weighing down the terram sheeting to make sure it stays in place

Supervisor Dan Garner closing up shop...until next year!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Day 17: The end is nigh

The end of dig recording is in full swing, but still the digging continues, if only for one more day!

The main work of the day was drawing sections of the ditch that we're excavating and filling out context sheets, which contain descriptions of an archaeological feature which will combine with several other context sheets to give an overall account of the site. For us this meant measuring the features found in the pit and putting these onto a grid map. With the use of a measuring tape we then measured the distance to the edges of the trenches to get their coordinates. At the end of the day we used the dumpy level to record the different heights of the trench to get a relief plot of the different parts of the site. This can often be dull work, but needed to be done: as they say, no pain no gain!

Today for the first half of the day was the final session on the finds which was the bagging up of the marked finds and the recording of the more decorated finds such as the stamped bottle base in my tray. Later on in the morning was back to the finds washing as a sizable collection had started to build up over the few weeks of digging.

In the afternoon the weather was good for digging and we collected a general mixture of pottery, bone and even iron. We also managed to find a shard of possibly medieval wine glass which was good surprise to get amongst the other finds. A few people visited the site and I managed to talk to a pair who later on I found out to be archaeologists themselves, which led to a good discussion with them about the site.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Day 16: Fancy a pint?

The remains of the medieval and early modern past are revealing themselves quickly now that we've only got a few days to go! The name of the game now is to step back and record what we've revealed before putting the site to bed until next year, but not before a few more fantastic finds by Team 2014!

Only TWO DAYS left of this year's dig and the rain is still relentless (that fine rain that soaks you right through). Luckily this morning my group were finds washing and labelling, sheltered from the grim weather with some lovely finds! My favourite was a post-medieval heart-shaped lead mount. Excavation this afternoon was still rainy but enjoyable with a few finds like a large chunk of medieval Ewloe-type ware cistern (see above), proving Cestrians have always loved a pint - well done Dave! Hopefully the last couple of days will turf up some equally great finds as a nice farewell.

My morning on Day 16 of the dig was spent in the finds lab allocating small finds numbers to our artefacts. One of the objects I was working with this morning, and my favourite, was a double looped copper alloy buckle with central iron pin:

This post-medieval buckle probably came from a shoe and unfortunately is incomplete but I think it's very cool all the same! And if it is in fact from a shoe, I wonder where the other one is?! Perhaps we'll find it before Friday! Fingers crossed! I passed the afternoon by cleaning up a section of the medieval ditch, which we're nearly done excavating.

It has now be suggested that there are two periods of use. Initially the ditch was dug and left to fill up. Later, it was cut again and the wall of the medieval structure was built. With the second period of use, the ditch would have been a moat and then later silted up, leaving behind a treasure trove for us to uncover!

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

A Successful Open Day

Our first reports of the Open Day have come in - we were feeling the love!

Dan engages the public during today's Open Day
Some of the decorated medieval tile on show today

The open day finally arrived.....and I am happy to say that it was a great success!  There was such a large turn out with all manner of people showing up to sate their interest in archaeology. All the diggers got stuck in to our work stations from the mini dig, where kids could hunt for finds, to our finds tables where we displayed the more interesting artefacts from the site; these ran alongside the site tours where we shared our knowledge of the site with the public.

What I took away from today is that archaeology is not a dead subject and that there still is a lot of love for it out there.

Adam takes our intrepid visitors on a Mini-Dig

Laura and Beth show off our Roman finds from previous years

Well, today was pretty successful by all accounts! At the start of the day we actually had a pump that worked and so we didn't need to bail out the water. Today's troweling in our possible medieval ditch gave up a plethora of animal bone including jaw bones complete with teeth, and some proper treasures in the form of medieval pottery such as Cistercian type ware and a large section of a medieval cistern. There were so many finds that within two hours me (Archaeology Man) and Tom (Mattock Boy) had almost filled 2 finds trays!

In the afternoon we had the open day. This was extremely successful with a large number of the public coming to visit us on site. Though whether it is for the archaeology or for the chance to meet Archaeology Man in person is yet to be established!

Taking the public on site tours and explaining some of the finds to them really showed me how much people are interested in their own heritage and archaeology, and how much they appreciated us giving them the information and letting them handle some finds! Plus I do believe that we may have inspired some future archaeologists. It reminded me of how I was inspired by Howard Carter when I was in Primary School.

It is a shame that the dig has to end on Friday as we are all loving it so much. You really don't have to dig far down in Chester to find evidence of the past. I love archaeology so much and I really believe nothing helps you relate with the past as much as this. The amazing thing about Chester is you never know what you're standing on! I'm envious of next years' 2nd year archaeology students already!

So in my final farewell, as promised, here is YOUR new Superhero Chester! BEHOLD... the very first image of Archaeology Man! Stay classy Chester!

You're welcome, Chester