Rock Cut Features

Project Director, Graeme Young, provides a little more information about the rock cut features within Trench 1.

Graeme’s Report

We have been discussing the two Anglo-Saxon buildings identified within Trench 1 for a while now so I thought I would post a photo taken late this season that shows up their relationship to the gate rather well.

Both buildings are aligned on the gate cleft, a natural gap in the volcanic bedrock, rather than the external perimeter wall. We believe this is one of the clues to their function, as they are perfectly sited to dominate the entrance. The photo below shows the dolerite bedrock as exposed in Trench 1. The steep smooth side of the natural cleft is visible on the left with the steps and paved area of the modern entrance just visible. The top of the rock shows the smooth surfaces that formed when the volcanic rock solidified millions of years ago and between them man-made cuts that form the foundation slots of the two buildings.

Stone cut foundations of the two Trench 1 buildings.

The narrow slot, immediately to the left of the ranging rod, extending into the photograph, is that of the timber building. Some fill remains within it, though it has been emptied closer to the camera where the modern steps have truncated it. Immediately above it, to the right in the photograph, is the flattened ledge along which the stone wall would have extended. The angle of the photograph, looking down towards the gate, does show how much the two buildings, separated by time but so close to one another in space, would have towered over the entranceway, filling the vision of those entering the fortress. A suitable characteristic for the hall that housed the authority that controlled access to a site as important as Anglo-Saxon Bamburgh.

Meet the Staff of the BRP 2012: Trench 1

As part of the blog thread ‘Meet the Staff of BRP 2012’ I asked all the BRP staff if they could put a few paragraphs together about their hopes for the forthcoming season. We have heard from Graeme and Gerry, our Project Directors, and the staff working out at the prehistoric wetland site, near the Bradford Kaims (To see the Kaims post click here). So today we are moving to the West Ward of Bamburgh Castle to meet the staff of Trench 1. Archaeology Supervisor, Alex Stevens will be over-seeing the day-to-day running of the trench, with the help of former BRP student, Jessica Garrett, who is one of our new Assistant Supervisors.

Picture of T1, facing south.


To see Alex’s profile from last year please click here.

I’m definitely looking forward to the 2012 season. It’s going to be my first as a supervisor at Bamburgh, something I’ve been looking forward to for a while now! Trench 1 has really been evolving over the last few seasons, and I think we’ll see some really exciting developments this year as well. With new features turning up all over the place, and old ones starting to make more sense, it should be a really good year.

Alex ‘supervising’ at T1.

As well as on-site excitement, this year is promising to be better than ever back at camp as well. Electricity in the mess tent? Magical! Christ we have simple pleasures don’t we? I’m also looking forward to a highly productive forging season. Our efforts last year showed how good we can be with the right tools, I’m thinking we could actually make something useful this year! Bring on the noise.

The foon. One of our more interesting forged (I use the term loosely!) creations


Not long till BRP 12 guys! I have missed the place, the people and the trenches loads and can’t wait to get dug in soon. As nervous as I am for giving the assistant supervisor role a shot, I am really looking forward to the challenge and I hope that I get to grips with it quickly … bare with me guys. I mainly want to give the students the best BRP experience possible through increasing their knowledge, skills and confidence in the archaeology and excavation techniques, whilst making sure they have an ace time in Trench 1, as well as in their spare time.

Jess moosing around in T1.

Just as Alex has mentioned, I have already anticipated the highlight of the season being the ‘Big Lights Switch On’ in the mess tent, which I know is going to equate to the popularity of the annual Blackpool lights and I strongly feel there should be an after party for this amazing event. Get involved.

More to follow in the next two weeks before the start of season.