A warm greetings from the BRP Environmental team (that’s me, Megan Taylor, Environmental Supervisor)!
The first week of BRP 2012 was dedicated to critical preparation for the coming season. This involved a review of the environmental work completed last year, both the physical processing of environmental samples—flotting, sorting, and discard—as well as the associated paperwork.
The database was updated, new environmental sample catalogue and record sheets were created and printed, and a guide to environmental archaeology at the castle was printed out to aid in the understanding and processing of samples.
In addition to organizing the old environmental sample catalogue and processing records, I set up the flotation tank and ran a “practice sample” through to be sure everything was operating properly. With the aid of some of the Bamburgh boys’ bucket train, some finessing with a bit of broken plastic, and some new clips, the tank now works perfectly. The rain and the lack of drying trays has delayed serious flotting a but a few extremely helpful volunteers have helped make a dent in Trench 7 sample sorting. If work continues as it has been, we should have Trench 7 environmental samples processed and databased by the end of June, leaving me some time to muck around in the trenches. All in all a brilliant start to the season!
In Trench 3 we have been sampling a hearth feature and an ashy spill from the interior of our 9-10th century metal-working building.