Binchester Roman Fort Excavation Week 2




Rebecca Cadbury Simmons

Our second week of excavation has been a week of removing layers. After the careful excavation and recording of the last layer of Roman occupation (late 4th century) we have started to remove these deposits to begin to explore what lies beneath.

The stone building in the north-west area of the trench that was cleaned up last week has been recorded and removed. The building appeared to be a single storey as no significant foundations were found as we lifted it. While removing the interior flagged floor we also found two large worked fragments of stone, each approximately 50cm in diameter, which may have been plinth stones. A stone wall was also removed, which may have been associated with the building.

Lifting this building revealed a large levelling deposit, which we recorded on Thursday and are now partway through removing! Whilst cleaning up the levelling deposit we found a whole, albeit broken, pot which one of our volunteers spent a day painstakingly excavating so that it could be photographed in one piece whilst it was in situ.

On the opposite side of the trench our volunteers have spent a lot of the week lifting a large spread of cobbles that overlies the road surface. Many of the volunteers with us this year were also excavating the cobbles last year, and after the slow process of excavating, cleaning up and recording a large metalled surface they’re finding lifting it very rewarding!

A worked stone thought to be part of a Roman altar was found within the cobbles which was one of the best finds to come from that part of the trench. However, the corner of a square glass vessel, a fragment of samian ware and several degraded coins were also recovered.

In the south-west quarter of the trench the team have been excavating a 4th century path which skirts around the top of the earthwork of the lower 1st century earthen rampart. Although the rampart would have once been upstanding to an impressive height, what remains has either eroded over time or been deliberately demolished. On the opposite side of the road, the rampart is visible only as a dark shadow in the earth where the turfs that constructed it once were.

We’re hoping to learn more about these 1st century ramparts through this excavation as they have not been explored archaeologically before, but we’ve got a lot of history to get through before we reach those deposits!

Overall the week has been a huge success and the volunteers have made fast work of the excavation, even in the warm weather we’ve been having! Don’t forget to follow our social media pages for daily updates from the site!

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