Friday, 11 December 2015

Time flies like a...

Terrifying fact: there are just 3 weeks until 2016. And that means we're now starting to put together the plans for next year's excavation season, and the 2016 Discovering Dorchester Field School!

The 2016 season holds many exciting things in store for us. We will be continuing in our allotments trench, exploring the character of this Roman 'small town.' We are now fairly uniformly down into the middle Roman layers of the site, and we are working to better understand the nature of the activities going on in this central spot in the town.



We will be continuing to pick apart the layers of the road, and to understand the rather unusual features we discovered last year, including a strange plank-slot running perpendicular to the course of the road across its surface, and a possible beam slot and wattle fence seen on its western edge. 

Along the northern edge of the trench we have nearly finished emptying the late Roman ditches, and we can now begin to try to unravel the complex series of intercutting features and layers through which those ditches were cut. 

And finally, we will be looking at the open area in the centre of the trench and to the west of the road, which in the past has produced several spectacular hair pins and other pieces of metal work. Being so close to the centre of the town, and directly adjacent to the main road, this space might be expected to contain significant and recognisable urban structures. Rather than shops fronting onto the street however we have found a large ovular feature, seemingly up to a metre deep, the fill of which has been found to contain evidence of burning, iron nails by the dozen, and large quantities of animal bone. Work this year will excavate more of the fill, seeking to understand what the purpose of this feature was, and what else is going on in this part of the Roman town.

The dates of this coming season's courses are:

Undergraduate Field School
Sunday 26th June - Friday 8th July

Public Field Schools
Sunday 10th July - Friday 15th July
Sunday 17th July - Friday 22nd July

We've already had lots of interest in places on the Undergraduate and Public Field Schools. Registration will open up on Monday 4th January, when I will be sending out more information to those who have already expressed an interest to me. Do contact me then to get our Information Booklet, or to book your place: edward.peveler@arch.ox.ac.uk

And stay tuned for another post soon to see what we've been up to in the off-season!

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