Day 20 – The Backfilling Begins

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Students checking the archaeological record before we begin backfilling

It has been a day of investgating the final features relating to the building and completing the final trench plan.  Why? Because as of 2pm this afternoon it was time to start filling in the trench; but not before we hosted the final site tour to the public.

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A great crowd for the 1pm site tour

Before filling the kiln back in, students, volunteers and staff alike wrote a little note for future archaeologist who may happen across the site.  By the end of tomorrow the site will be completly backfilled and the turf placed back. Three weeks over in a flash!!

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Leaving our mark in the kiln

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Day 18 -Planning and exploring

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Ceri planning the ash/rubbish pit

The excavation of the ash pit to one side of the kiln was completed today and with that a section plan, mapping each of the layers that filled the pit began.  Ceri one of our volunteers spent the afternoon doing a cracking job on the plan which will be incorporated into the final report.

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The end of a fine bone hairpin discovered upon the surface of the floor within the building

As well as planning, the further excavation of the floor surface within the house led to the discovery of a fine bone hair comb, as well as a copper hair pin within the dark horizon within the courtyard.

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Copper hairpin recovered from the 1st and 2nd century dark industrial and domestic waste layer into which both the kiln and building was constructed

Excavation of the wall foundations has also continued, with the cobble/gravelly fill of the construction cut being removed to uncover a foundation consisting of angular stone set on edge.

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The foundations of the walls enclosing the courtyard (marked by the ranging poles) with the kiln and pit beyond

 

Day 17 – Roman Foundations

As we approach the end of the excavation the foundations of the building have been uncovered along with the majority of the floor surface of one of the rooms.  The question of phasing in regards to thee kiln and building is also revealing itself.  It would appear that besides pottery production, iron working was also in operation at the site during the at least the late 1st and early 2nd century AD.  This is evident by the 30-40cm thick layer of charcoal and artefact rich black deposit that runs throughout the trench, into which both the kiln and building was constructed.

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Students uncovering the floor surface of one of the rooms

One of the main aims of the day was to uncover the foundations of the courtyard building, by picking through the rubble overlying the foundations students and volunteers revealed the rounded stone foundations. Tomorrow will see the further excavation of the wall foundations in order to uncover datable evidence for its construction.

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The excavation of an ash pit to one side of the kiln

As well as excavation, during the morning the trench and kiln was subject to detailed photography by Adam Stanford of Aerial-Cam.  The photographs will be utilised to create a 3D image of the kiln that will allow us and the public to navigate the feature from the comfort of our chairs.  Once the imagery has been processed a link will be provided, so watch this space.

Day 15 -Exploring a Roman flue, floor and courtyard

Today marks the first day of the final week of excavations in Credenhill.  There has been a hive of activity, concentrating on the removal of the charcoal rich flue fill first revealed yesterday.  The fill was excavated in spits, consisting of layers each measuring about 10cm thick. Each layer was sampled in order to test for environmental evidence as well as to provide dating evidence.

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A hive of activity witnessed the excavation of the kiln flue and the removal of a charcoal and artefact rich courtyard deposit to the rear of the kiln

In order to determine the phasing between the kiln and the high status farm/villa building, an area of the courtyard has been excavated to the rear of the kiln which will link the pottery production feature with the foundations of the building.  The aim of this exercise is to find out whether the kiln was in operation before the building was constructed, or if the two were in use at the same time.  Hereford Sixth Form College students have been hard at work today exploring this relationship. By the end of tomorrow we should have established what is going on, and with that dating evidence.

As well as work relating directly to the excavation, college students are also engaging with their coursework. One of the students, Catherine, has chosen to investigate the black burnished ware ceramics excavated during the project.  Today she was producing illustrations of the artefacts and recording the context from which they were discovered.  Other students are utilising the kiln, the room, courtyard and general archaeological techniques as their coursework topics.

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A student recording in detail the fragments of pottery as part of her coursework

Tomorrow will witness the continued investigation of the courtyard and flue, as well as the excavation of one of the villa’s rooms where a central post-hole has been identified as well as a compact but eroded concrete floor surface.

Day 14- All is becoming clear!

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Students and volunteers excavating the full extent of the kiln flu and pit

With the final week quickly approaching, today the the full extent of the kiln and flu was unvailed. Volunteers, picking away the final patches of rubble across the site discovered the end of the flu that serviced the pottry kiln.  From now on they will excavate and sample each of the layers that fill the flu to retrieve information concerning the date that each layer was deposited; the types of pottery used at the site; and the diet/food grown/eaten at the site.

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Excavation of a pit identified within one of the rooms of the building.

Elswhere the excavation of a room of the building has led to the discovery of a later phase of flooring with a pit or possible post hole located within the centre. The surface of the floor appears as a rough cobbled surface, but in some places compact Roman ‘concrete’ survives in-situ, above which there is a thin occupation layer of soil rich in charcoal and artefacts.

Tomorrow the excavation will extend into the courtyard of the complex in order to detrmine the relationship between the kiln and building. Was the building constructed after the kiln went out of use?

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Three of our veteran archaeologists

 

 

Day 11 – A Few Finds

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The site under steady excavation

As we have not displayed any of the finds discovered during the excavation so far, we thought it about time we did!

Evidence concerning the appearance of the courtyard building has been provided by the discovery of painted wall plaster, individual tesserae (the blocks that make up a mosaic, and pieces of ceramic flue and roof tile. The status of the building is further enhanced by the discovery of a limestone column, similar to one discovered in 2014.

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Limestone column base

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Fragment of painted wall plaster

As well as structural evidence, the high status of the residence is also indicated by the discovery of fine jewellery, coins of the 3rd century and a single intaglio. Aretacts relating to fine table wares as well as glass have also been identified.

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A 4th century coin, possibly relating to the reign of Constantine I

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Samian ware depicting the image of a dog

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Intaglio, a coloured gem from a necklace or ring

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A disk brooch

As of today it looks like we have the floor surface of one of the rooms in the building, so the aim now is to workout its use, as well as to identify when the building was constructed.

Day 8/9 – Madley School

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Learning about Roman Herefordshire in the shade. Copyright Madley Primary School

It is the beginning of week 2 and we have had Year 4 of Madley Primary School lending a helping hand on the site whilst learning about Roman and Iron Age history from the team of archaeologists.

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Pupils processing artefacts. Copyright Madley Primary School

Whilst learning about the Roman Army and Roman Herefordshire, pupils had the opportunity to handle recently discovered artefacts from the excavation, as well as aid in the excavation by cleaning finds and sieve for artefacts within the spoil.

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Pupils receiving a site tour from a Roman!! Copyright Madley Primary School

 

Day 7 – End of Week One

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Visitors receiving a site tour of the site. Copyright Charlie Hodges

Today has been a little quieter than usual, but with that we have greatly increased the number of interesting finds. From a well preserved coin, a decorative pin, decorated wall plaster and what looks to be an arrow head, the finds have taken a detour from the usual animal bones and pottery shreds.

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local volunteers helping to process the artefacts. Copyright Chris Atkinson

As well as the site tour, local volunteers have jump at the chance to aid in the excavation.  Whether digging or finds processing they have all played an important role in the investigation of the site.

The excavation of the building rubble that seals one of the rooms continues as does the removal of the fill from the kiln.

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The removal of the soil from the kiln begins. Copyright Chris Atkinson

Tomorrow will see a visit by Madley Primary School and with that even more investigation and discovery.

Day 4 – The Trench Gets Bigger

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Recording, excavation and finds processing … it has been a busy day

It has been a very busy day on site today. Excavation of the kiln has continued along with the extension of the trench to unveil a vast area of the courtyard. The trench has been further extended to encompass a portion of the west wing of the farm/villa.

In the case of the building, we are still picking through the rubble debris on top of it. However, when get through it we hope to uncover evidence for individual rooms such as walls and floors. Will we be able to work out what each room was used for?

More tomorrow 🙂

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Planning the courtyard. copyright Charlie Hodges

 

Day 3 – EUREKA!

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Students recording the rubble layer before its removal

It has been a busy day on site today as Sixth Form students and volunteers got stuck in with uncovering the remains of the villa site and earlier pottery kiln.  With the removal of an extensive layer of rubble (interpreted as that relating to the collapsed/destroyed villa building, the compacted surface of the central courtyard was uncovered.

Elsewhere in the trench the backfill of the 2014 excavation has been slowly removed leading to the uncovering once more of the early 2nd century pottery kiln.

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Students and volunteers uncovering the courtyard surface

 

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow will bring on a similarily busy day as the courtyard surface will under go a detailed phase of recording, led by the archaeology students of Hereford Sixth Form as well as the continued removal of the backfill around the kiln and west wing of the villa.

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The removal of the 2014 excavation backfill reveals the top of the kiln. Beyond is the courtyard surface identfied earlier this morning