Week 4 Round-up

This week included a lot of recording and sorting, some massive earth-moving, and preparing to leave site!

We digitised a bunch of plans and context sheets, and we also continued monitoring the finds in the archive annex and updating the database with location information.

We were so grateful to have friends of the project get those incredible drone photos for us on Tuesday. You can see some sneak peeks here.

A very excited trench team looking at the drone photographs.

Some interesting finds came out in all the processing, such as the yellow glass bead and bone pin below. The bead came from an environmental sample taken in 2013 of 9th/10th-century context; multiple 2013 samples run this season also produced several other beads, but all but one of those were ceramic (the other a crinoid fossil, “Saint Cuthbert’s bead”). The bone pin is from a context tray from Trench 5c that we looked at today before organising storage. It was from an area of the long stretch of medieval wall where we had previously only been finding modern material, until we extended the trench (see below).

In the trenches, we moved so much earth!

First, we extended the old 2002 trench along the longest stretch of standing wall which we are calling Trench 5c. The extension was to learn more about the rubble that is scattered perpendicular to the face. Some of the stone positions suggest that another wall came out of the length we still have.

Then, we fully exposed a large stone surface abutting the dolerite up at the postern gate trench we called Trench 5d. It’s not clear exactly what was happening, and we thought bringing down the inner face would answer our questions. It only gave us more questions! Two large stones with tool marks appear to have fallen down into the northern end of the trench. On the southern side of the trench, a large spread of mortar appeared.

Thursday was the big day of rubble-removal with the help of Stuart and Steve from the Castle team. We would bet at least a [literal] tonne of rock was removed. On Friday, the well-room was cleared of the big stones, so we mattocked and shoveled as much soil as we could. We also cleaned off the steps! Finally, we photographed the steps and well-room even though both are not yet completely excavated.

It’s our last day on-site this season, so we wanted to let you know about what to expect in the off-season:

At least two blog posts will be headed your way in the next few weeks. First, Alice will be providing an update on the environmental assemblage and what it tells us about cereals at Bamburgh during the early medieval period. Then Graeme will do his usual end-of-season post with a round-up and tentative interpretations, plus some thoughts on our next steps.

Please also keep an eye out for news regarding our publication of the Bowl Hole research!

As always, follow us on social media for the latest information on our research and upcoming field school opportunities. That’s all for now, but you will definitely see us next year, back in the outworks!

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