It has been a busy last Mondayon site today, as everyone picked up the pace for the final push! The day started with Imogen giving a tour of the site to our fresh volunteers, but soon we were all at work in the trenches. Recent graduate Libby has been working in the roadside ditch, and found what might be some ancient Roman road-kill, in the form of some cow bones! The weather was good for excavating in today apart from a spot of heavy rain which led to everyone gathering in the site tent for a while. After that work continued and a trench through the road was started. By digging through the road we hope expose a section of the road which will expose its stratigraphy, and hence its periods of use and repair.
Imogen showing new volunteers around the site
The Hub is up and fully running until the 31st, so make sure that you come and check out our photo displays, handling collections, and vast wealth of other materials whilst you still can!
Friday was a great day to end the week. We recorded our 2000th small find (and then about another 70 more), found a red bead, which is particularly rare in Britain. This added to our swelling collection of beads that we have found. Minutes before we packed up for the day a large sherd of decorated Samian was found at the bottom of the roadside ditch (which will be great for helping to date it!). This sherd is of especially interesting since it seems that it might have been the lid of a vessel, again, something which is quite uncommon to find in Britain.
The overcast weather of Sunday was welcome respite from the scorching sun that was felt during the week. Today we found not one, not two, but three coins! One in the unstratified spoil, another through wet-sieving soil samples, and then finally one in a specific context! This brings the total number of coins found on site to a staggering 28!
Just to let you all know that tomorrow The Hub will be closed for the day.
Also, by end of play today, we had found a further four coins!
The Site was a-buzz with activity on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Tuesday saw the Hub close earlry so that James and Greg could get some filming and
photographing of the site done (some of which is now on our Facebook page). The highlight of this filming saw Danielle carefully lift a bent copper alloy pin. Whether this pin was purposefully bent for use, or whether it was bent at a later date, we do not yet know.
Greg filming Danielle excavating a copper alloy pin
Tuesday was a scorcher, so we set up a gazebo to prove some shade for those on site. In the evening we took a trip to Denbury Hill fort, so a particular thank you to Bill Horner and Ranger John for that. We started at a perfect time with the sun just starting to set, and as we walked up through the ancient entrance we looked over the Devon countryside and could see for miles. We then entered the tree cover and traced the ancient upper fortification and ditch level, with the lower level clearly visible below us.
John pointing out the area surrounding Denbury
After this we proceeded to the two Bronze Age barrows in the middle of the fort, before decending back to Denbury Green and the Union Inn. A perfect way to finish off the day.
Wednesday was another sorcher and everyone on site was feeling it a bit, so whilst small finds records were being digitised in the Hub, it was decided that everyone needed a half day, as a bug was going around too.
Thursday, has gotten off to a good start however, with Student Intern Jess coming over to the Hub to digitise records at breakneck speed, and everyone is feeling refreshed, espicially since it is now a little overcast!
This means alot to us over at Ipplepen Archaeological Project, since all of our finds and records are due to be stored at Torquay Museum. Torquay Museum is only a 20min drive from our site and it would be truely defevasting if these cuts were to take place. We would be one of the many groups likely to be directly affected. Please take a few minutes to fill out this questionnaire, and share it with as many people as possible! “Torquay Museum is facing devastating cuts of 42% in its grant from Torbay Council for 2015/16, as recently announced in their latest £14m Savings Proposals.We need your support to try and reverse this decision and save the Museum from closure. To register your opposition to Torbay Council’s proposed cuts fill out this consultation questionnaire. Just follow the link below. Please help support the Museum. Thank you.”
Sunday, Day 12, was our site Open Day, which saw nearly 500 people visit the site, and nearly 400 visit the Hub, making for a total of a little fewer than 900 people!
This year’s Open Day saw refreshments provided by Spanky’s Spuds and Hunter’s Brewery which went down a storm in the brilliant sunshine (there was a light interlude of rain later on in the afternoon however).
The bronze bracelet after conservation!
Activities on site included; student led tours of the excavation which ran every half an hour; talks by Dr. Sam Moorhead of the British Museum and Portable Antiquities Service about Roman coins; talks about Romano-British pottery with display cases; children’s activities; pot washing; views of our post-conservation bronze bracelet; information from Devon County Council; and even Roman re-enactors. It was a fun filled and busy day for all involved!Over at the Hub we were open as usual, with a PAS handling display which contains various artefacts, from a Cartwheel Penny of George III to a 2nd century AD Roman amphora handle, imported from Spain. Our displays on the history of the site and Roman roads more generally proved popular, as did our picture slideshow which was running on a monitor. The children’s activities were put through their paces as the ‘make your own Roman coin and mosaic’ tables were inundated with creative flair!
Monday saw a return to excavations on site, with scorching temperatures and sweaty brows a lot of progress was made, we are nearly at the point of recording our 2,000th small find, and it is only just the beginning of Week 3! Everyone is back on site now for Tuesday, with some of our volunteers and students going over to Denbury Hill Fort this evening (but more on that tomorrow).
Today the Hub will be closed from 1′o’clock as we are heading over to site to snap up some great pics for you all to have a look at!
A massive thank you to all who attended our Site Open Day! The sun was shining and the crowds were out in their hundreds! Work resumes as normal tomorrow.