Wednesday, 11 July 2018

We're not exhausted yet - Open Day (Saturday 12 - 5 pm)

We are getting closer to the end of things: the World Cup is inching to its finale, the heatwave is slowly cooling, and (sadly) we only have a week and a half left in Dorchester. 

The lack of time and the growing sense of ends and of limits does not however mean that there is any break or ebbing of the number of finds that are coming out of the ground. For example, in the first three hours of the day, over 25 small finds (objects of metal, worked bone, and stamped pottery) have been recovered and recorded. Town sites are meant to contain a good number of finds, and yet, even after ten years, this aspect to Dorchester is not showing any sign of being exhausted of objects. 

In terms of those key finds, those which are most cooed and coveted, we have had a strap-end, a lump of plaster with a painted flower/star, another with a leafy decoration, and two contextualised coins of the Emperor Hadrian. In addition, last week our metal-detectorist Shaun (who works our spoilheap picking up metal that has been dug up and accidentally discarded by us) picked out an extra special find which seemed to come from soil under the Roman road. I will keep mum about it to try and entice you to the Open Day (this Saturday, 15 - 5pm, Dorchester Allotments), I am certain though that it is the find of the season. However, it certainly is one of those finds which brings the past closer at the same time as it makes it more intriguing. 

So, as I have mentioned it, let's repeat - we have our tenth and last Open Day occurring this Saturday (14/7/18) and it promises to be our best yet. We have a whole host of activities tailored to children, a whole number of our best finds returning to be looked over, and a whole set of excited archaeologists ready to tell you all about the site. 

Please come along!

(as ever, pictures to follow)

Thursday, 5 July 2018

"Feelin' hot hot hot"

It is coming to the end of the week here and our last set of undergraduates are on their ways out. They have dug hard (the record for the number of barrows 'run' in one day fell twice), and we have progressed in most parts of the site. There have been a number of beautiful finds: a copper ligula from a toiletry or medical set, a bone pin, and an antler knife handle have all rather caught the eye - see the photos that will follow. 

However, as ever with archaeology, it is not the finds that really make an impression but the features themselves. For, underneath the middle road slot, we have come across a line of stake holes (or 'voids') set into the ground and stretching from north to south. They are linearly scattered into the northern road slot too and once made up the wall from some kind of early building. Near this area we also had a Claudian as, a copy of the type with the Minerva reverse, and this find places the feature slap bang in the middle of the 1st century CE. It therefore looks like we are beginning to uncover and untangle material that might provide parallels and nuances to the 1960s and 1970s excavations that took place in this picturesque village. 

Working with this feature we might begin to provide some answers to some of our original questions - what were the origins of Roman Dorchester? And, was there a military phase here? 

All exciting and all still very hot (the heat wave continues)!