Area B, June 2009

David Ingham
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Joined: 10:30 PM - May 14, 2007

11:46 PM - Jun 14, 2009 #1

After all the cobbles of April and May, Justin extended the trench eastwards to try to escape them. No such luck! The photo shows a north-south road running along the right-hand side of the trench, with a roadside ditch to the left.
Area_B_east.jpg
Area_B_east.jpg
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David Ingham
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Joined: 10:30 PM - May 14, 2007

12:05 AM - Jun 15, 2009 #2

At least we've finally got some decent archaeology in Area B as well as the cobbles. The nicely dressed masonry in the bottom left of the photo currently looks like the base of a gate tower for the western gateway of the Period II/III fort. It's rather near the surface for such early remains, and 100 years earlier than what wer're meant to be looking for, but we'll gloss over that for now.

The line of stones to the right appears to be the base of a rampart. It lines up with some of the previously excavated Severan remains(stone fort II) - the only problem is that a ditch running along the far edge of the trench also looks Severan, which would mean that the rampart lay outside the fort ditch. Not very likely. There's also the wall of a vicus building running along the line of the ditch, and another wall on the right of the photo, perpendicular to the rampart base.
Gate_tower.jpg
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David Ingham
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Joined: 10:30 PM - May 14, 2007

12:21 AM - Jun 15, 2009 #3

The rampart base can be seen running up the left hand side of the trench, to the right of the north-south cobbled road. There are several breaks in the line of stones due to later disturbance - probably the 19th-century farmers at work again! There must have been better places to plough, surely?
Rampart_base.jpg
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SacoHarry
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Joined: 9:29 PM - Aug 22, 2006

2:13 PM - Jun 15, 2009 #4

David, these are fantastic pictures, and the descriptions are great! I've pulled them out to start a "June" thread to help keep the timelines separated.

For those getting their bearings, it looks like the trench is about here:



If you guys have found the western gate of Period II/III that's a big coup! But yeah, why would it be so high up? More late-Roman terracing/ground levelling at work?
Last edited by SacoHarry on 2:34 PM - Jun 15, 2009, edited 1 time in total.
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SacoHarry
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Joined: 9:29 PM - Aug 22, 2006

2:33 PM - Jun 15, 2009 #5

David, is this breakdown of the tower, rampart, walls, etc. accurate?



Green - Possible Period II/III western gate tower (c. AD 100)
Purple - Rampart base (Severan?) (c. AD 210)
Orange - Vicus wall (3rd C)
Yellow - Unidentified wall (c. ?)
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David Ingham
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Joined: 10:30 PM - May 14, 2007

5:26 PM - Jun 15, 2009 #6

Spot on, Harry - I'd have coloured in the photo myself if I'd have thought of it. The trench location is about right as well - we'll be heading north and north-west as the season progresses. I'll annotate next week's photo, since we'll probably have completely revised the interpretation of the trench yet again by then....

It's certainly odd to have masonry associated with the Period II/III gate so close to the surface, but we only get just over 1m of archaeology at this point before we hit natural clay. Andy's 2004 trench, just a few metres to the east, had pre-Hadrianic buildings only a few feet below the turf, so it's not completely bizarre. Hopefully we'll be able to have a better look at it this week if the weather stays fair.
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MBetz
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MBetz
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Joined: 11:10 AM - Nov 02, 2006

7:46 PM - Jun 22, 2009 #7

Thanks, David for posting some great photos to go along with your descriptions. If only more diggers would do the same I could get my fix :).
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David Ingham
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Joined: 10:30 PM - May 14, 2007

11:52 PM - Jun 30, 2009 #8

As predicted, the interpretation of what's happening in Area B is still somewhat fluid. The photo below shows the trench looking north towards the tea hut. I've also included an annotated version, just in case it isn't immediately obvious to everyone what's going on in the photo....

The line of stones previously suspected to be a rampart base now looks more like wall foundations (Antonine - mid-2nd century?), while the stones along the eastern edge of the trench have turned into a drain (though possibly still associated with a vicus building). We appear to have the south-west corner of the Severan fort ditch, although its course is proving surprisingly tricky to follow for a 5m-wide ditch. There's also another ditch to the west of the Severan one, running north-south; it's possibly a roadside ditch (following the eastern edge of the road), but the road surface is proving a bit unclear at the moment. The cobbled road at the bottom of the photo runs east-west.

There's no sign of the northern side of the Period II/III gateway - it was presumably robbed out. The natural clay is turning up at less than 1m below the turf, which would explain why the gateway is so close to the surface when the other Period II/III remains are mostly 5m down....
Area_B_27th_June_annotated.jpg
Area_B_27th_June.jpg
Last edited by David Ingham on 7:15 PM - Jul 04, 2009, edited 1 time in total.
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SacoHarry
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Joined: 9:29 PM - Aug 22, 2006

12:58 PM - Jul 02, 2009 #9

Brilliant pic & diagram! Fluid indeed. Would the Antonine bits be part of the "military annex"? Or did you stumble on some of the elusive early vicus?

Also, could that roadside ditch have been a surface aqueduct? I think I remember Justin finding similar waterchannels alongside roads to the NW.
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David Ingham
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Joined: 10:30 PM - May 14, 2007

9:04 PM - Jul 02, 2009 #10

We're very close to Andrew's 2004 trench (less than 10m east of our current area), so I'd imagine any Antonine buildings would similarly relate to the 'military annex'. The dating evidence is still circumstantial, though - we might yet shift the possible Antonine bits to a different period.

The ditch could have been a water channel; we're also questioning the term 'roadside' at the moment, as it now looks as though it might have been cut through the road. It might also not have been all one ditch......

It's 'wait and see', as usual.
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