The BRP 2020 Field School will once again be based at Bamburgh Castle on the Northumberland Coast. We are in the process of finishing our last trench in the West Ward of the Castle and will be turning our attention to the exterior structures surrounding the Castle.
The field school will run for five weeks from 21st June – July 24th. You can find out more information about how to book here: Booking details
New Excavation Site
The focus of the dig season this year will be two-fold. Firstly, we will begin new excavations to explore the presence of a proposed exterior ditch. The proposed work will investigate the alignment, depth and profile of the castle ditch close to the main gate. By characterising the stratigraphic layers within the ditch and sampling them for dating evidence and evidence of waste disposal we hope to generate an insight into the material culture of the castle from an ordered sequence of layers that will greatly aid in the interpretation of the extensive, but more complex and disturbed stratigraphical sequences recovered elsewhere in the castle, principally the West Ward. In addition, the profile and alignment, depth of the feature will aid in interpreting how it fits into the landscape setting and visual arrangement of the site and the impact it was intended to have on those approaching the gate.
A public pathway runs through the area of the ditch today beneath the entrance into the castle through the main gate. Here, as a result of erosion, numerous finds have been reported to the castle staff by members of the public and even found by the archaeological team when passing by to the village. The investigation of the area will be used to aid in making management decisions, to ensure the preservation of the area and also in order to recover an easily relatable stratigraphic sequence to aid in dating the pottery assemblage already recovered. In particular, the dating of ‘Bamburgh ware’ in relation to its use date and the layers above and below its introduction and end of use. We already know that there is some depth to this feature from cores cut through in 2003 that revealed over a 1m of stratigraphy. None of these appears to have reached bedrock due to encountering stones in the full, so its true depth remains to be explored.
Our second focus for the season will be post-excavation. Tuition covers a variety of areas, as we have an active on-site finds department and a environmental processing area. Our work will focus on the material excavated from the ditch and the West Ward excavations, including our early-medieval, Roman and prehistoric contexts. Participants will have the opportunity to:
- undertake environmental sampling techniques
- wet-sieving and sorting residues and flots (search for ‘environmental’ on our blog to see lots of info about this element of the project)
- clean and sort bulk materials such as animal bone and small finds, such as metalwork and worked bone.
- prep finds for long-term storage
- undertake cataloguing, including database and archive management
- together this will aid in developing your identification and assessment techniques for a variety of material assemblages
How do I get involved and apply?
- Read the Booking Details page and the FAQ page
- Decide if you will be staying at the Campsite or not
- Fill out the Application Form
- You will then receive an email from the BRP staff
- Pay the deposit to secure your place
- Book your accommodation