Back at Berkeley: 14th Time Lucky

We’re back to begin our 14th year at Berkeley! Before the digging can start, health and safety duties will be performed, the steps leading in to the trench need to be cleared, areas not ready to be excavated will be cordoned off and the trench will be thoroughly weeded; probably not as exciting as you might expect but absolutely necessary nonetheless. 

Returning students can’t wait to get stuck in. Second year student Phoebe says that she finds the excavation process very satisfying and is ready to do meaningful work, in addition to further developing her skills with larger tools such as mattocks. Julia, also second year, is eager to get to grips with the hands-on aspect of excavation and get muddy, and is also looking forward to the camaraderie. 

As we start this years’ excavations, the bottom of the trench nearest Berkeley High Street has been dated as Medieval, probably c. 13th to 14th century. At this end the focus will be on the two buildings, one of which has been identified as a pub and the other is yet to be formerly classified. In the middle of the trench we have reached the Roman layer, and at the top end we hope to fully excavate and record a possible stone trackway and the layers surrounding it. 

On site this year we have Project Directors Professor Mark Horton and Dr Stuart Prior, Assistant Project Director Dr Adrian Chadwick, and Site Supervisors Emily Glass and Sian Thomas, as well as a new cohort of first years coming to Berkeley for the first time, joining our returning second and third years. On site at Berkeley we have students displaying finds from previous years in the castle itself alongside those toiling in the trench, and a few more running social media and public engagement. Back in Bristol, we have a dedicated post excavation analysis team working with our finds. 

We will be here for the next three weeks, and if you would like to keep up to date with us please follow us on Instagram and Twitter, both @digberkeley, and like our Facebook page Bristol Dig Berkeley.
Second year students Phoebe and Gabi clearing the steps to the trench.

- Abbie O'Connell