A successful first week at Berkeley.

Unfortunately the wet weather of yesterday afternoon meant that we had to stop digging early, as the trenches quickly turned into a quagmire. Today the weather held up for us and digging continued in the various trenches throughout the site.
Students working in the Jenner Garden
In the Jenner Garden, the students have come across a new context which is a potential garden feature. The students in the paddock trench have been busy removing part of a floor level, which sits inside what is believed to be an Anglo-Saxon house and are now digging to find potential dating evidence. They have also been removing the last bits of the demolition debris of the potential Norman house. Within this debris they have found bits of door fitting and a belt buckle and pieces of horse harness both comprising horse furniture. In Trench 18 there have been some very exciting discoveries today. Our find of the day was a piece of human bone found by Jamie “JCB” Caudwell. It is an important find because we’ve been looking for an Anglo-Saxon cemetery east of the minster enclosure which was badly disturbed by the digging of a 14th Century ditch. The finding of this fragment of human bone means they may be close to finding the cemetery. In trench 17, students have been working down through the layers of orange clay to try and find any evidence of Anglo-Saxon remains. So far they have mostly found animal bones and pottery. Phil Rowe has been surveying around the trenches and castle grounds on the hunt for civil war fortifications which have never been found before.

Medieval gaming piece found at
 Windsor castle
You may have seen on our Facebook page that we posted a picture of a medieval gaming piece found in the paddock trench yesterday. We were contacted by Brian Kerr from English Heritage, who kindly sent us some very interesting photos of similar gaming pieces found in the round tower at Windsor Castle. The gaming piece pictures sent to us by Brian are made of scapula, but they have also found a piece made of ivory. They are examples of high status items dating to the 12-13th Century. The gaming piece found in the paddock trench is made from patella and is beautifully decorated. The fact that our gaming piece is such a similar design to the ones found at Windsor castle helps us to confirm the date and prove that we are also dealing with high status items.