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.
Keep up to date with all the discoveries, brought to you by our daily bloggers.

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Saturday, 14 May 2016

Day 5: Touching new archaeology!

So it’s the end of our first week excavating, and after the endless amount of backfill being removed the whole site is finally getting down to new archaeology that has not been seen since its time of deposition, exciting! 

Our first week has been a success (though I think we have all learned our lessons about not wearing sun cream or hats) and everyone is getting to know the site really well and enjoying working on the different aspects of the excavation. 

All of the groups have started on their own sections and are uncovering quite a few exciting finds, the most talked about of the day being a Roman gaming piece, a tile with an indented paw print, a rosary bead and a lot of animal bone!

One of the edges of the Roman Road has now been revealed and defined while work to uncover the other side is still ongoing, with the aim to hopefully excavate underneath the road and road side ditches once they have been recorded. 

Group A have also uncovered a series of stones with surrounding burnt materials that may possibly be the remains of an oven, though at the moment we can only speculate.

The Friday feeling has grown as the day has gone on for all of the groups and I am sure that everyone is looking forward to a lie in tomorrow morning, but for now - pub, anyone? 

Bethany and Bryony 



Thursday, 12 May 2016

Day 4: the locals have accepted our presence and begun to approach.

Figure 1: "I am the bucket queen: no one can out bucket me". Genuine quote.

Today barrowing became mercifully light as shovel monkeys became trowel monkeys and we pulled back the Terramsheeting; finally starting on some fresh archaeology.

As the day progressed features gained definition, the stones of the Roman road becoming more defined and the as yet unexplored eastern end of the area was trowelled in anticipation of coming excavation.

New finds came with the added satisfaction of a new strata, they included a considerable number of teeth, and a near complete humerus (upper arm) bone (not human thank goodness). Pottery became distinctly more medieval with pot handles and patterned floor tiles, the latter possibly attributable to the suspected chapel.

Figure 2: patterned medieval floor tile

With the day's pleasant weather came curious passers-bymany of us made conversation, attempting to explain a sight we had only just gotten our heads around (or as Amiko put it “I only know Mesolithic”).  All the same the interactions were confidence building, satisfying and often a welcome break.

Looking forward to getting in to the new archaeology tomorrow and hoping for a continuation of the pleasant weather.

Jonathan, Out.

Figure 3; suffering the muddy consequences of yesterday’s rain

Figure 4The roman road as excavated last year. We hope to find more to gain a more accurate heading.

Figure 5The unanticipated ergonomics of wheelbarrows.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Day 3: Muddy heroes

We arrived at the site today to find flooded ditches and soggy, wet soil; the mud formed a thick additional layer to ouralready rugged footwear, so gathering traction on site was hard work, yet not a single casualty was reported. 

Team morale never faltered and the unsung heroes of todays show were the brave men and women that volunteered to clear the spoil accumulated by the rapid diggers, the weather had transformed our once tame spoil heap into a giant crumbling body-hugging mudpie, nearly consuming every barrow that attempted the climb. Our heroes resorted to taking loose materials up one bucket at a time, using ingenuity to add both planks and stones into the pathway to give traction.

The day’s goal was to clear away as much of the top soil as possible before lunch leaving little to be done before the tarps come off and the new archaeology is revealed! The progress of our excavation is advancing, not at all hindered by the many near face-plants and muddy faces; the remains of the medieval house and Roman road are really starting to show as the dig continues.  

To the relief of some, our group was sent away to take some measurements while the rest risked life and limb to unclog the site. We spent the morning using the dumpy level and total station, while also having a quick break to try and feed some archaeology hungry squirrels. 

The second half of our day was spent doing some real hands-on work down in the main trench, with the dastardly Dan correcting the edge of the site, a fresh heap of earth found itself sitting in our freshly excavated trench, obscuring the medieval wall. This setback was but temporary however, as with our ruthless efficiency the earth was no match for us, and thusly we had the honour of removing the tarpaulin from the exposed building, allowing our excavation to surpass the depths reached in the previous year, one can barely contain the excitement for adventure and discovery.

By Mona & Matt

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Day 2: Never ending mud!

Today was a continuation from yesterday shifting the rest of the backfill so we can get down to the previous year archaeology. At one point it definitely felt like there was no end to the bottom of the pit as the watery slush of mud consumed our feet. However, with team effort it was all done just after lunch, well, till Dan then decided to spade away the outer wall into the pit so it was no longer nice and clean! There was a much better feel on site with everyone helping where they could, finding muscles we never knew we had by lifting buckets full of wet mud and borrowing up the growing spoil heap.

With the aid of doughnuts at break time provided by Caroline we had the sugar boost we needed to shift the majority of the backfill. We have managed to find some pottery, glass, bone and other cool stuff just in the back fill so we are hoping to find even cooler stuff when we actually get down to the new year archaeology.

At lunch a class of school children came over and we were able to show them some of the finds that we have found today and explain to them what we are doing here, they seemed very excited and even came back to see us digging after lunch, which was great to see. 

At about 2.30pm the heavens opened and I am sure we were all relieved to see the back of the sun, regardless if it had to rain for that to happen! After a lengthy training session from Simon on writing our contexts sheets I am sure the only thing on everyone’s mind was “I can’t wait for the shower when I get home” because it certainly was on my mind.

Hopefully tomorrow all the backfill will be gone and we can finally make a start to finding the archaeology for this year so come along and don’t be shy, we don’t bite!



Day 2: A sea of sweat and sorrow

After yesterday’s scorching heat, this morning was no different! Lots of sweaty diggers were working really hard to clear the mud that was soggy. I mean really soggy which meant that our feet got stuck... not so much fun! But the teams worked their butts off to clear their areas. Even the rain in the afternoon couldn’t deter us.

There’s a great group of people on the site and the atmosphere has been fantastic. Not even the pouring rain could wipe the smiles off people’s faces! So many laughs and jokes have been passed around and there will be some great stories throughout the dig, so stay posted! All the teams are finding various artefacts such as: bones, animal teeth, pottery, clay pipes and possibly some amber.

We’re finally getting somewhere with the remains of last year's backfill so fingers crossed that we’ll start to do some proper excavating in the next day or so. This may include finding more on the Roman road or the Medieval house... Can’t wait! 

Team B have tomorrow morning off so there will be some sort of lie in which sounds absolutely blissful at this moment in time! Let’s hope that when we get there tomorrow all the areas will be clear... fingers crossed.

Blogging again soon.


It’s 2016 and the site is back open!

Today has mostly been about shifting as much dirt as possible and not melting in the 24 degree heat! The primary objective of the day was to introduce ourselves to the site and tidy it up so that we can continue from work carried out last year. 

Waiting to get started
The trench at the start of the day

After some hard work, a lot of the past years surface can be seen and soon it will be time to peel back the protective layer put down last year and really get stuck into investigating some exiting features, like the medieval house and the continuation of a previously excavated Roman road! We are really excited to get some serious excavating done and fingers crossed the weather holds out. 

Shifting dirt!
Today as a whole we learnt some basics to shifting mud, and that sun cream is important.

There’s a lovely bunch of people on site, and some serious characters, so there could be some good stories to come out of the year!

For today, it’s over and out! We look forward to the rest of the dig.

Trench at end of Day 1: Progress!

-Becky and Robyn