Meet the Staff of the BRP 2012: Trench 3

Today we have our next installment from the blog thread covering the hopes of each staff member for the imminent 2012 dig season. To date we have heard from both onsite directors, Graeme and Gerry, the Bradford Kaims staff and Trench 1. Today we will hear from the Staff of Trench 3. Archaeology Supervisor, Jo Kirton (that’s me by the way!) and the assistant supervisor’s, Stephanie Rushe-Chapman and Maria Buczak.

Trench 3 being cleaned and recorded


To see the staff profile from last year click here

This year will be short one for me, as I will be leaving before the season ends as I have a small matter of a PhD to finish. Nevertheless, I have grand plans for my shortened stay. Firstly, I want to see the Hammerscale sampling finished so we can get at the SW corner and lift the probable metal-working building. This will allow us to bring that area of the trench down to the 8-9th century layers that proved so interesting in the adjacent areas last year. My other main aim is to figure out whether the large areas of burning are associated with the ‘porch’ feature, which has been evident for some time. They are positioned on the same alignment, so I suspect they form part of a large timber building with a stone entrance, which burnt down leaving only the burnt-out post holes or beams for us to find.

The stone entrance and area of burning to the south

My other main interest this year is making sure we continue to keep everyone updated through the blog, plus the Twitter and Facebook accounts. I will be handing this over at the end of June and I hope to be able to follow the dig when I am in the office or out in the field. Long live the blog!!!

However, my primary aim for this season is to make sure Joseph Tong does not win the quiz. If I (I say, I but I mean Graeme) can do this then I will leave a happy lady.


Steph came to the BRP  from the States last year and soon made it into the ranks of BRP staff.

Stephanie holding a large cauldron fragment

I am really excited to be returning for my second year with the BRP! I am especially curious to see what new developments will be found in Trench 3. There seems to be so much going on, and I’d like to get a better understanding and a better ‘mental image’ of how the various features within Trench 3 relate to one another. I spent most of last summer taking down the baulk and searching for Brian Hope-Taylor’s large burning area, so I am particularly interested in what new discoveries will be unearthed in this area of Trench 3 and how they will match up with Hope-Taylor’s excavation notes.

On a more personal note, I am looking forward to spending another summer with such a great group of people—to be reuniting with friends and making new ones! I am finally officially finished with my PhD coursework at Missouri (yea!), so I also have a personal goal of doing a little academic reading each day in preparation for my comprehensive exams that will take place this autumn (yuck). But, there will still be plenty of time for fun!

See you all soon!


Maria is a new member of staff this year, having proved her metal at both the Kaims and the castle digs.

Maria sieving for finds at the Kaims

Like everyone else, I can’t wait to get back out to the castle and start digging again this year! I’m really looking forward to seeing what else will come out of Trench 3 – especially after the great results from previous seasons’ hammerscale sampling and, of course, Constance’s amazing gold find! It would also be great to try and test some of the theories people have come up with for this complicated, but very exciting, trench!

The social side of the project also promises to be just as fun as the last two years I have been at Bamburgh! Really can’t wait for the weekly BBQs, multi-weekly pub visits, impromptu football matches and, of course, to see what our amazingly creative forging team will be able to come up with this year!

The dig starts on Monday 4th, so expect a steady stream of blog entries and live tweeting from the trench edge. Hopefully we will have plenty of archaeology and antics to please everyone.

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