Project Director (there’s a few of them for those of you who are confused!), Graeme Young, gives us an overview of his hopes for the coming excavation season at Bamburgh Castle and our wetland site out at the Bradford Kaims.
In both of the castle trenches this year we will be investigating Anglo-Saxon buildings. In Trench 1 we have two structures, identified in previous seasons, one of timber construction and believed to be of middle Anglo-Saxon date and a second a robbed out stone building of middle to late Anglo-Saxon date. They are aligned on the gate cleft, known to have been in use since at least the 8th century, and are likely to have been the halls where a gate ward lived, controlling access to the fortress. If we can reveal the full extent of the structures we hope this will help us understand their architecture better and also to clarify their date range. I am particularly keen in the Trench 1 area to try and demonstrate if we have continuity of occupation from the middle Anglo-Saxon to the 12th century, as this period is poorly represented in Trench 3. To see the end of season report from last year click here.
In Trench 3 we have already identified one small building, which we believe to be associated with metalworking. There certainly is a large concentration of metal finds in the vicinity as well as clear traces of hammer-scale, which results from smithing. Further sampling and processing of hammer-scale this season may well shed a great deal of light on exactly where this smithing was undertaken. In addition at the northern end of the trench we have an unusual stone surface that we have interpreted as a porch or entrance to a substantial timber hall the extent of which we aim to trace this year. To see the end of season report for Trench 3 click here.
In the Kaims this summer we want to compile topo maps, both surface and sub-surface, of the lake edge in the vicinity of the ‘hearth’ feature and also try to investigate the close dry land area in order to find an occupation site to go with our processing site. Further work will be to expand the topo, test pitting and coring along the lake edge, as time permits.
Over the next few weeks we will also be hearing from all the staff who will be working alongside Graeme and Gerry. There will be plenty of old faces but some new blood as well.