Day -4. Work has started preparing the field for the upcoming excavation. The marquee has been erected, loos installed and once the total station arrived we were able to start putting the poles in place which form the grid within which the trenches are located. Despite heavy downpours of rain we even got the geophys started with the first few squares of magnetometry. Despite the weather we were very pleased with the progress we made but fear tomorrow might be a bit less productive due to even worse conditions being forecast. It looks a bit better from Thursday so fingers crossed.
Julian will be coming to Boxford on Wednesday 9th November to deliver a talk entitled “A Career in Ruins.” He will also be bringing books for sale – so if you have enjoyed his TV appearances, bring your wallet as there may be some books that tickle your fancy! We look forward to seeing you. (If you haven’t yet booked your place, please let me know asap. firstname.lastname@example.org) Thank you.
Below some of the nearly 100 people who turned out to the see the results of this year’s Big Dig in Boxford yesterday. Members of BARG (Berkshire Archaeology Research Group), volunteers and Cotswold Archaeology were on hand to explain the site which contained not only Roman but Iron Age finds. It was good to see some of the younger volunteers sufficiently confident in explaining what they had been doing over the last two weeks. There were a number of aerial photos on display kindly provided by Richard using his drone. A few of the finds were on display – when they have all been recorded, they will be on display in Boxford Heritage Centre. Pottery, bones, shells and metalwork will all be sent to experts for identification; as well as large amount of soil samples taken for environmental analysis. Our thanks go to Cotswold Archaeology, BARG and all our volunteers without whom , none of this would have been possible. Especial thanks goes to Dave who ferried equipment around and Pru who washed innumerable finds almost single handed! Now we are looking forward to our last HLF funded project next year in August – another Roman villa – maybe two or perhaps the second building will be a barn or full scale brewery! Please contact Joy Appleton at: email@example.com if you are interested in joining us. It might be hard work at times but we do have a lot of laughs!! We hope to hold a feedback session later in the year. Please subscribe to get updates.
Uncovering the walls to the grain drier which is about 3 meters x 3 meters. This can have been for malting barley – the first stage of brewing beer – so perhaps West Berkshire’s first micro-brewery!
Marvelling at the increasing size of the stoke hole – hard work for James and Jim – the hot air from this fire was channelled under the building and emerged at the opposite end of the building and was deflected back into the main body of the building using recycled roof tiles or tegulae, all to heat the grains.
Obviously serious intent by the Romans to produce a brew judging by the size of the stoke hole, the sturdy building and enclosures!
Photos courtesy of Emily
No time for photos today! Everyone on site was working hard to get things finished before rainfall arrived late afternoon. We also had the pleasure of a visit from Peter Warry, an expert on cbm. His knowledge is so extensive and he was able to tell us that the maker of most of the tegulae, supplied the same for Roman buildings in the Wantage area…………. all this from the signature on the tile! He also approved the recycling of Roman tile found on our site – so somewhere not too far away is another Roman building which has been stripped!
The weather forecast is not too promising for Saturday but Richard Miller is hoping to take more aerial photos with his drone camera in the morning. We are also expecting Professor Mike Fulford on Saturday afternoon, from Reading University to see what he makes of our “weird” building. On Sunday we are hoping for a large crowd at our “Open Day” between 2-4pm. And then the site is covered up once more on Monday.
Autumnal feel at the start of the day…………………..
But Isobel is soon down to it – or is it in it?
And everyone is cracking on………………….
But by lunchtime, all the hard graft takes its toll!
Photos courtesy of Lindsey
After the digging…………………………………….. comes the measuring and recording for posterity!
Here’s how you do it…………………….according to Jack!
After a well earned rest day on Bank Holiday Monday, everyone was back to try to uncover the mystery of the little Roman building. Neil Holbrook, ex Time Team and now Director of Cotswold Archaeology paid a visit. He was as mystified as the rest and described it as a weird little building! Guess we will have to wait until it’s fully excavated to discover its use!
And then he lent a hand!
Work begins on excavating the small building in Trench 2 with Gill being granted the honour of lifting the first flint having drawn the plan of the whole structure single handed.
Never mind the weather …………………works begins in earnest to reveal the secrets of our enigmatic building!
Gill’s task …………………….to meticulously draw the foundations and debris of our little Roman mystery building using a grid before we can excavate. She hopes to finish tomorrow!
Today’s thunderstorms mean no digging for a while as everyone is cleared off the field until the storms have passed but it’s quite a dramatic sight.
Photos courtesy of Lindsey.