Eight members turned up today for another session to assist the Cathedral team in excavating the long courtyard drainage trench (as seen below). Although the infill is a combination of soil and CBM that's been mixed up over the years so that the contents are no longer in their original context (if ever they were), a variety of finds from the different eras have come to light, including bones, tiles, slag and pottery.


A northerly view of the trench.

According to Chris Guy, the archaeological site director, a known building once stood here and the particular area being worked above is the kitchen area, with the dining area located to the left of the photo. So perhaps it's not surprising that a number of animal bones have been found!


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Two of the many items after cleaning.


southSince several stones at this end of the Trench were found arranged together with the remains of mortar between themthe possibility of  wall crossing the trench is now being investigated. 

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Investigating the possibility a of wall.






For a change today's indoor activity consisted of several different aspects of finds processing. Usually the first one is to wash the finds, which Tina is seen doing below. Sometimes only when the dirt and mud is removed does it becomes obvious that what we previously thoughtwas a piece of pot was actually a piece of stone.  Or the scruffy looking object when cleaned up proves to be a little gem of a find!


Tina tina


After the finds have dried they are weighed (which is what Keith was doing below on the right) and this, along with the item's description and location on site, is recorded onto a database to be included in the final report. 


But today we went two stages further. Like last week, we separated more of the finds into material types for our expert to examine and, for the purposes of finally archiving, we also labelled up finds related to the reports that are nearing completion.  This process involves the use of a fine pen and black or white ink to write on the find itself a code that relates to the site where it first originated from. This enables it to be easily traced back to its source should it become separated at any stage from the rest of the collection. (The reader will have noticed similar writing on artefacts in museums.)





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Find of the day, uncovered by one of our metal detectorist Tina.


TP mod car





Today our members attended a training session on recording Contexts sheets with a view to later creating a Matrix from them. Murray Andrews (a member and qualified Archeologist) kindly agreed to present the Powerpoint seen below and clearly explained how these worked. (Most of us would agreed that it stretched our minds!)




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So, hopefully, next time we are "out in the field" this talk will have given everyone a better understanding of not only how to fill in our context sheets with great detailed and accuracy, but also appreciate the overall site beyond the one trench we happen to be working on at the time.