A Guide to Archaeological Illustration

As the 2018 season of Dig Berkeley draws to a close, we are taking a look at some of the techniques in archaeology that don't often get the spotlight, but are important in the understanding and recording of our finds. One such technique is archaeological illustration. There is evidence that archaeological illustration has been utilised since the medieval period, with archaeological artefacts and sites being recorded through drawing such as a 14th century interpretation of Stonehenge, below. Archaeological illustrations became especially common in Europe during the Renaissance; topographical illustrations featuring interesting parts of the landscape were commonly created, including earthworks or mounds of archaeological interest. Many of these early illustrations were inaccurate, sometimes drawn based on verbal descriptions or brief observations, and were often not recognised as specifically archaeological features. One of the first measured and planned illustrations of archaeologi…

Spotlight on Post-Excavation: Where Do All The Finds Go?

As the final week of the annual Dig Berkeley project draws to a close, it is high time we turned our attention away from the trench and to the post-excavation team. Stationed at the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology back in Bristol, these students have been working tirelessly over the last couple of weeks carefully looking after the finds sent back to them from Berkeley this year. Student post-excavation supervisors Bethany Holland and Dan Brown explain that the work they and their team are doing in post-ex is vital to the Dig Berkeley project as it widens our understanding of what we are actually looking at and digging up in Trench 8. He says that despite the lack of mud, the post-ex team work just as hard as those in the trench and are faced with new challenges everyday.

Each day the post-ex team have been faced with new finds to wash, analyse, and catalogue, fresh from Trench 8. Armed with buckets of water and a selection of toothbrushes, picks, and tweezers, students have …

Third Years' Final Dig: Memories of Dig Berkeley

For third years, the dig is no longer a compulsory part of their degree. Those who have returned to the dig this year do so because of their love for the project, and the great memories associated with it. As we begin the third week of excavation, we asked third year students to reflect on their time at the Dig Berkeley project, and share some of these memories. Having been involved in the project over the last three years, they had a lot to share, from favourite memories to most challenging tasks.

Left to right: Dan, Hattie and Max 
Public Engagement Officer Hattie says her best memory of the project was getting to bond with people over hard work; coincidentally she said that she found this most challenging but at the same time it strengthened friendships. Hattie says Berkeley is a great site to work at because of its many layers of occupation, meaning there is always something new and exciting-or, as Hattie put it, "old and exciting"-to be found. Managing the project's…

Slag: Not Just Waste


Who Is Your Archaeological Hero?

As we progress into our second week of digging, we put a question to some of our hard working students: whose work, discoveries and achievements inspired you to get into archaeology, or fueled your interest in the subject? In other words: who is your archaeological hero? 
Max picked our very own Mark Horton as his archaeological hero because he brings a level of humour and charisma to archaeology which he believes all archaeologists should aspire to.

Dijwar's hero is Farouk Ismail who is a lecturer in Syria. Farouk has a vast amount of knowledge on Syrian archaeology and he runs an organisation to protect Syrian archaeological sites called "Sopartu".

Mark looks up to Mick Aston from Time Team because he was so passionate about archaeology. They both share the idea that archaeology concerns everyone and access to it should be made public.

After a shared holiday to Egypt, Tilley and Rosey were inspired by Egyptology in general, and the tomb of Tutankhamun in particular. It co…

The Next Generation of Archaeologists

Yesterday saw the beginning of our second week of digging, and the arrival of a group of local primary school children. Dig director Professor Mark Horton gave the children the full tour of Berkeley Castle, which is currently dressed up for the filming of not one but two major television and film projects.
Following their tour of the castle, the children were given a tour of our trench in Nelme's Paddock, and an explanation of what we have found over the years, and what these finds and features can tell us about the history of Berkeley Castle.
Then came the real fun: the chance to be an archaeologist for the day! The children were introduced to some important archaeological techniques; excavation and finds washing. Bristol students constructed their own site for the children to dig in, filled with some fun finds including pottery, bones, iron artefacts and a necklace. The visiting students were happy to get stuck in and get their hands dirty to find something special. After the ex…