Friday, June 12, 2015

Winding Down at the End of the Dig

As we come to the end of the dig, work has begun to shift into the realm of logistics and tying up loose ends. The list of jobs to complete appears endless: shifting spoil heaps, numbering drawings, taking levels, checking context sheets, photographing sections, and metal-detecting the whole trench, to name a few! A special mention should be made of the deconstruction of a vital team-member: the car-port. It should be especially noted for its provision of shelter against sun and rain during the last two weeks of weather extremes!

Equipment sorting and cleaning starts
2015 has been a strong year for the Berkeley Castle Project. The ditches have been completely emptied, leading to the discovery of a large quantity of scrap lead waste in a deposit believed to be a backfilled bank. Overall, there has been a surprisingly minimal amount of finds. This could be due to more of a focus on the top end of the trench, which has been troweled back almost to natural.

As far as dating is concerned, there is a strong level of confidence as to the estimations so far. It is suspected that the smallest ditch is Early Saxon, the middle is a burr ditch, and the small recut ditch belongs to the Anarchy period.

One of the final finds of 2015 was a Roman coin. It was found using a metal detector in the same layer as that of the Severn Valley Ware. Not much is known about it yet, as it has yet to be cleaned and processed, but it appears to be in a fair condition, and should be identified in the near future.

Roman coin, fresh out of the ground before cleaning
Having a strong, cohesive team is vital to a successful dig, and the students working this year have been exactly that. When it was time to completely remove the fill from the ditches, they showed strong teamwork, and have been particularly commended on their ability to work well stratigraphically, and carefully consider in an archaeological sense what it was they were digging. Consistently proactive, and willing to work, the 1st years in particular have left the supervisors with much to look forward to in the next couple of years to come!

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