Friday, May 22, 2015

Get stuck in!

Exciting progress is being made here in Berkeley! The trench cleaning process has finally been wrapped up meaning that the ‘real’ digging can begin. The team did such a good job cleaning that a number of pit and posthole features have been revealed and we are looking forward to seeing what else appears in the next few days of excavation.

The beautiful clean trench with visible features ready to be excavated
The ditches (no longer mini-swimming pools) are now being cleaned out and site-director Emily happily reported that they are in fact in much better condition than she thought. The undergrad archaeologists might be forgiven for thinking otherwise due to the amount of sticky, clay mud clinging to their gloves, boots and knees, but the whole team are happily getting stuck in (literally) to see what they will unearth!

'Glorious' mud sticking to everything
Here in the Public Engagement and Social Media team we also have some exciting things in store! Plans are being put into place for the upcoming Bank Holiday Monday. Artefact handling sessions are being coordinated, where a small collection of artefacts will be available for the public to view and hold. We hope that this will enhance their experience of archaeology, offering an interactive opportunity to understand and see what we are up to and what kind of things we have found here on site and give a hands-on look into the castle’s complex history.

Visitors and local residents will also be invited to join us on a tour of the archaeological trenches on the Bank Holiday Monday. Students will lead the members of the public from the castle gate to Nelmes Paddock trench and inform them of the archaeological process and what we have found. (Let’s hope they remember their wellies!) Tours are also available for ticketed visitors to the castle during the last three Tuesdays of the excavation (at 2pm).

Arguably one of our most exciting (and in our opinion, ground breaking) engagement plans is the TOWN MUSEUM PROJECT. Starting next week, we are turning the town of Berkeley into a temporary Museum exhibition. Willing home owners and businesses are becoming curators for a week or two by displaying a small selection of artefacts in their windows along with information about them for the whole town to see. Now the local community can actively get involved in the archaeology of their town, take pride in their heritage and ‘get personal’ with their past.

2nd year Alice sorting through artefacts
Innovator and project leader, Aisling Tierney explains her inspiration:
Last year we hosted a community engagement event where we asked the community how they felt about our work and what ways they would like us to engage with them. Since so many people are working while we are on site, they can’t always get to the archaeology. I thought, let’s bring the archaeology to them. From that point, the idea just grew into something wonderful and I’m really looking forward to seeing all the displays in place, creating an ambiance of archaeology for the whole town.

For a more detailed preview of Aisling’s public engagement plans, feel free to check out the Public Archaeology blog here.
Otherwise, WATCH THIS SPACE! We have definitely got an exciting week ahead of us here at Berkeley Castle! If you’re free on Monday 25th May, COME ALONG!

Over and out from 3rd year Sarah who was determined to sneak a selfie into this post somewhere!
Our engagement coordinator only slightly rolled her eyes at this last picture...

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