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Showing posts from June, 2014

Thank you, and good night!

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So this is it: the end of the 2014 Berkeley season and what a year we have had. This has been a year of discoveries, re-interpretations and, as per usual - fun! 
High Street end of Trench 8
The main trench in the Paddock - Trench 8 has seen enormous progress on all four corners. At the High Street end of the trench we appear to have uncovered the remains of a Tudor tavern out-building. This building, along with the tavern (that we believe is somewhere under the spoil heap), appear to have been destroyed during the civil war to defend the castle from attack by creating clear lines of sight. Pits that were dug inside the out-building contained, amongst other things, industrial waste which makes us wonder whether this may have been a light industrial area attached to the tavern? We look forward to further excavating this area next year to see where this takes us and are enormously thankful to our students who have, in this space alone, moved over a tonne and a half of mortar, brick and bui…

"9-0-2-Monroe"

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Professor James Cameron Monroe couldn't stay away from Berkeley castle excavations this season, and has returned after his first visit to check our progress and get into the trench for some excavating. It is a real pleasure having such an esteemed academic on site, and one that will gladly accept a second interview...
Guess who's back, back again. Professor Monroe in the trench 
SMT: When you were last here you talked about the write ups for your projects in Benin – how are they going?
JCM: Yes really well thank you, I am in the middle of my volume on Urbanism in West Africa. I have now written about 5 chapters out of 20 – although the lion’s share of the part that I have to write up is almost done.
SMT: How is it to be back in Berkeley again, since we last spoke to you?
JCM: Glorious! I came out on the first day of the year’s excavations nearly a month ago and it is amazing to see the progress that has been made. You have moved an incredible amount of earth, and uncovered such a v…

Flat Out 3D Analysis

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Friends on Tour! Views, news and reviews...

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On site yesterday we had our dose of exciting discoveries and re-interpretations as well as visits from Current Archaeology and the annual Friends of Berkeley tour of the excavations run by site director, Stuart Prior. After ten seasons of hard work, we at the Berkeley Castle Project are thrilled to be the focus of a spot of media attention from the archaeological magazine: Current Archaeology. Their assistant editor, Carly Hilts, spoke with Stuart Prior and our site Supervisor Sian Thomas about the possibility of an upcoming article about the Berkeley excavations and the significance of so many layers of English history being uncovered from one trench. After talking to our supervisors and students and taking photos of the trench, Carly got hands-on with some of our recent finds before joining Stuart's tour of the excavations. Every year, members of the Friends of Berkeley Castle are taken on a tour of our site to see how we are progressing. They also get to meet the students and …

Tantalizing teamwork in the Trenches... and farewell to Trench 14

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Our mean keen bucketing team of Archaeologists began the day today by draining the puddles left over the weekend in the paddock. #FeelingDrained should be trending internationally on twitter any moment now as the picture below was uploaded onto twitter and Instagram.

#FeelingDrained. A great team effort to start the day by bucketing the water from the upper part of Trench 8
On a slightly more academic and reflective note, the Social Media team had a chat with Supervisor Emily Glass about the results of trench 14, because today is the last day of the 2014 excavation season that we will be working on that particular trench. Trench 14 (measuring 4 x 4 metres) was first opened in 2010 following a series of geophysical surveys that indicated a distinct anomaly in that area – it was a very dark patch when compared to the rest of the field... 
Following excavations, this anomaly was found to be comprised of dense brick fragments, and deposits of burnt clay mixed with black silt and charcoal. T…

When the weather gets tough, the tough keep digging!!

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Due to adverse weather conditions in Berkeley this past week the excavation had to be abandoned for a day on Wednesday. On returning to glorious sunshine for the final two days of the week, the social media team spoke with site Supervisor Emily Glass to discuss recent developments in the trench and what plans are afoot for next week's final week of excavation for 2014.
As a result of Wednesday’s torrential rainfall, the east and west ends of the trench unfortunately became heavily waterlogged, particularly in the area of intercutting ditches. The plan to expose the possible Tudor building by removing a layer of building rubble from demolition was temporarily halted due to this area being underwater and excavation was delayed while it was pumped out (thank you Prof. Horton!). This meant that on Thursday the students were concentrated on working across the mid-section of the trench and, as Emily explained, this was “to take advantage of the damp conditions and give the central area of…

D-Day Landings at Normandy

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Our social media team reflect on D-Day

On June the 6th at 00:16 hours, Operation Deadstick, a mission to capture Pegasus Bridge over the Caen Canal, triggered a series of well thought out and complex operations; thus beginning the omnipotent tale of D-Day. Under the command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, a total of 160,000 troops descended upon the beaches of Normandy as part of the largest sea borne invasion in human history. 
As part of the largest seafaring invasion, 5,000 landing and assault craft were deployed, 289 escort vessels sent out and a total of 277 minesweepers were put into action.
This allied invasion of Normandy as part of Operation Overlord led to the restoration and independence of the French Republic and in turn led to the victory of the allies. Out of the 160,000 troops it is known that 61,715 of these men were British soldiers; the first day on the beaches of Normandy resulted in the loss of 12,000 British Casualties and a total for the Germans of only 1,000.
As I…

Archaeology and the community

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Over the last two weeks of the dig a brick-built Tudor building was discovered in the south west corner of Trench 8, which was demolished pre-1645 during Civil War action. Examination of the historical records in Berkeley castle has led to the identification of this building as a Tudor tavern which was called ‘The Crown Inn’. There are references to this Inn in the 17th Century and the building dates back as far as 1544 where it is noted in a survey. Over the last two days work has been done to remove the remains of this building to access the layers underneath, work being led by second year student Sophie Rose, and in the last few minutes a floor has been uncovered.

Third year student Isobel Bentley has been overseeing work in the east end of Trench 8 on a series of boundary ditches of possible Saxon date. The main aim for this group of eleven students currently is to discover some pottery or other easily datable pieces so that the phase to which the ditches belong can be securely e…