Binchester Roman Fort Excavation Week 7




Rebecca Cadbury Simmons


Our penultimate week of excavation is now over, and the whole team has been feeling the push to get as much done as we can before we finish on the 23rd! The weather continues to be mixed, with more rain than sunshine, and there’s an Autumnal temperature that has arrived with the perpetual dampness. This has caused ground water to seep into the site, and we often have to stop to bail out the lower points in the trench. Thursday morning also saw an invasion of sheep onsite, which Rebecca, Eddie and Steve had to herd away before the volunteers arrived!

On the east side of the road we have started to excavate one of the 1st century ditches, which is very exciting! It is a major excavation as we believe the ditch will end up being at least 2m deep and possibly up to 4m wide. This work is requiring the volunteers to work together as a team, and is using a lot of muscle power.

We have also planned and removed a building platform that was made up of large stone cobbles. One side of the building faced a secondary road, and now that we have removed the building platform, we can clearly see the nice curbed side of the road. The other side of the building appears to be slumping into a second underlying defensive ditch.

On the west side of the main road we have been removing a huge demolition layer. This layer has included lots of fragments of worked sandstone, degraded sandstone, and quite a bit of op-sig flooring! These kinds of building materials are commonly found in Roman military sites and high-status buildings during the 3rd and 4th centuries, and the flooring is usually associated with heated floors. Rather than this being indicative of a high-status building located outside of the fort, it is likely that the build-up of material belongs to a building that was demolished elsewhere, and redeposited in a dumping ground outside of the later stone fort.

Several nice finds have been unearthed this week, including some fragments of samian ware pottery and part of a shale (a material similar to jet) bracelet. A copper-alloy key ring (a finger ring that is also a key) was also found, and is currently being looked at by the finds team back at the office – we hope to have more information about this for you soon!

We’ve got just one week left of digging so make sure you come along and visit the site before 23rd August! On Monday 26th August, Roma Antiqua, Barbatus and assorted mercenaries will be at Binchester displaying their fighting skills and weaponry (for more information click here).

For more updates on what we’re up to and live information from the site, don’t forget to follow us on social media where we are providing daily reports.

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