Catching up on Trench 3

Stephanie, Supervisor of Trench 3, gives an update on the excavation in Trench 3 at the Castle site:

Thanks to the pre-season excavation with the Catholic University of America (CUA) students, the BRP was able to jump into excavation and planning of Trench 3 at the beginning of our 2014 season right where the CUA students left off! Our first goal was to finish the full trench plan, so that any changes to the trench during the off-season months were fully recorded. Five drawing sheets later, Assistant Supervisor Anne and I are proud to announce that the full trench plan is now complete and connects beautifully!


Students and staff working on the full trench plan of Trench 3.

Our second goal was to continue excavation of the beam slot and mortar floor surface in the NW corner.  Followers of the blog from the 2013 season and the pre-season excavation will remember that we believe the NW corner is higher and later in date than the rest of Trench 3.  The remains of the mortar floor surface have now been fully uncovered.  Presumably, the mortar surface was originally rectangular in shape, even though the surviving footprint is quite irregular to the northeast, likely disturbed by subsequent building phases.  Additionally, there is one large post-hole and one pit dug through the southern end of the mortar.  Last season, we had thought the eastern edge of the mortar was cut by the western beam slot of an earlier large timber building, whose eastern and southern beam slots have been identified elsewhere in Trench 3.  (See blog from May 22, 2014 Elusive Beam Slot Found.)  However, further investigation of the beam slot by the pre-season excavation suggested that the beam slot was actually stratagraphically higher and associated with the mortar floor surface (and not with the earlier timber building).


Anna and Anne excavating the area south of the mortar floor surface.

Last week, BRP students continued excavating the beam slot while Director Graeme searched for a similar beam slot to the west and north of the mortar floor surface. We now believe that we have located a western and eastern beam slot for the mortar floor surface. Despite investigation, no indications of the northern or southern beam slot can be seen in section or from plan. Our next step will be to remove the mortar floor surface. Upon doing so, we hope to find evidence of the western beam slot for the earlier timber building.


Jet excavating the beam slot next to the mortar floor surface.


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