Binchester Roman Fort Excavation Week 8




Rebecca Cadbury Simmons


Our final week is over and the digging season has now drawn to a close. The last week was a push to get everything finished in time but the team worked well to complete our aims for this year.

The main concern for the week was that we wouldn’t have time to reach the bottom of the 1st century ditch that we began excavating the week before. It was important that we achieved this so that we could understand how the layers had filled the ditch, and how large the ditch was before it was filled in. There were several layers of very clayey stratigraphy to get through, which made it backbreaking work, but a team of six people each day meant we could work quickly. On Thursday we finally reached the bottom, giving us time to get it cleaned up ready to be photographed and recorded on Friday! In the deposits filling the ditch we found several large fragments of amphora, small bits of wood that had been preserved in the waterlogged layers, and a group of seven melon beads that had either been dropped or placed there purposefully.

On the other side of the road we continued to remove the large demolition deposit that we also began last week. This was overlying a fine metalled surface that turned out to be another secondary road heading out of the trench to the north west.

The rest of the work this week focused on getting the whole site cleaned up after it was trampled by sheep at the end of last week, and on gently removing weeds that had started springing up throughout the site. This allowed NAA’s surveyor Damian to visit the site on Friday afternoon to record the features for the last time.

On Friday afternoon, all the volunteers who had been involved with the season were invited to return and see the progress that we’d made. A celebration of tea and cake was held in the car park and the volunteers revisited the site in groups. A huge thank you to all the volunteers who took part in this year’s excavations, we couldn’t have got the last eight weeks done without them!

While the digging may be over for another year you can still visit the site and guided tours of the excavation area are being held as part of the Heritage Open Days (HODs) 13-15th September, for more information click here. After the HODs the trench will be backfilled so make sure you visit while you have the chance.

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