Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Event: Lake District Annual Archaeology Conference, November 2nd 2014

 Event details

  • Date: Sunday 2 November 2014
  • Location: The Theatre by the Lake, Keswick
  • Cost: £13 (with tea/coffee), £19.25 (with tea/coffee and lunch). Parking vouchers cost an additional £2.00.
  • How to book: fill out the conference booking slip (PDF) and post it back to us at LDNPA, Murley Moss, Oxenholme Road, Kendal, LA9 7RL or call us on 01539 724 555 with your debit or credit card details
The conference covers various Lake District projects, and at around 2pm, Lisa Keys from Minerva Heritage will be speaking about her input into the project and the Romans in Ravenglass Outreach Programme 2013-15. We hope in the following year to have Kurt Hunter-Mann from York Archaeological Trust who will be summing up the results from the two seasons of excavation.

For full details of the programme see here

Friday, 10 October 2014

Comment: Ravenglass mentioned in British Archaeology magazine

The coastal erosion of the Roman fort at Ravenglass gets a mention (and a photograph) in the current issue of Council for British Archaeology's magazine British Archaeology.  The full reference is:

Waddington, Clive, 2014 'Battling the Waves' British Archaeology, November-December, pp34-39

Ravenglass appears on page 37:

'... Roman remains have long been known to be eroding from the English shoreline, with current examples including the fort at Ravenglass, Cumbria, where the west side of the fort is collapsing down a steep, unstable soft cliff into the estuary of the Esk ...'

Waddington's work, called the North East & North West Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment was funded by English Heritage. The views expressed in the article are his own.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Comment: Online course about Hadrian's Wall: Life on the Roman Frontier

A friend drew my attention to a free online course, which apparently mentions Ravenglass at some point! The course is called: Hadrian's Wall: Life on the Roman Frontier - Explore the archaeology of the most heavily fortified frontier in the Roman Empire, its people and their lives.

The course started on 22nd September, so is now in its third week, but you can still sign up and catch up with everyone else. It is run by Newcastle University, and one James Gerrard, who came and scanned the Bath house at Ravenglass, also appears talking about pottery!

From a quick look at the first couple of weeks, besides looking at the Wall, it also considers the general background to the Roman army, and also the civilians who would have been around too.  So it's not just about Hadrian's Wall, it also serves as a great introduction to the sort of Romans who may have also been at Ravenglass.  It's well worth at look at can be found here.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Report: Excavation blog Week 4, 22nd-28th September

Yet another week of good weather, with only the occasional shower to dampen the baked ground. Digging continued as long as possible in order to resolve some remaining questions. Many finds were recovered, which will no doubt assist with the dating and interpretation of the Roman activity.

In Trench 1, investigation of the Roman road confirmed that the core comprised a number of large dumps of large stone rubble and metal-working waste. A small trial trench in the middle of the road encountered yet another layer of stone, at which point excavation ceased; the road construction layers were clearly reached a considerable depth.
Layers of road construction, with Bob B levelling
To the north, there was no evidence of a northern limit to the road, in the form of either a kerb or a roadside ditch. Instead, the cobble surface extended up to and around the side of the building. In this form, the road at this point seems to have been more of an extensive open space over 20m wide, presumably reflecting its position well within the vicus. The cobble surface adjacent to the house had been laid over a dump of metal-working waste, albeit ashier and lighter than the metal-working debris layers encountered elsewhere in the trench. The construction of the building and the uppermost road surface seems to have been one operation.
Cleaning and planning cobbling alongside the building

Immediately to the rear of the building, another trial trench encountered rubble and cobble layers and a layer of metal-working waste, the latter extending underneath the building and forming a well-drained construction layer. Again, there was no indication of the end of the sequence was going to be reached, and so excavation ceased here.
Excavating, cobbling and back wall of building

In Trench 2, excavation of the long sequence of industrial deposits on the higher ground to the south indicated the they were the result of metal-working, with examples of mould fragments found. One interesting feature was an amphora, set in a shallow cut – perhaps to contain water for quenching as part of the metal-working process?
Fragments of the amphora washed and in the finds tray; burnt base of the amphora is in the centre of the picture

At the foot of the metal-working deposits, a layer of cobbling seems to have formed the original surface upon which the metal-working deposits accumulated.
Industrial deposits in the foreground

The main discoveries in Trench 3 were to the rear of the building, where areas of burning and cobbles point to activity similar to that in Trench 2.
Planning cobbling

A tidy post-medieval stone-lined field drain was found cutting through the Roman building foundations. Investigation of this feature showed that the foundations were shallow, and rested on a thick layer of clay, which in turn overlaid another layer of clay that could have formed the original ground surface.
Field drain cutting the corner of the Roman building

By the following Tuesday, the compound had been closed down and tthe trenches had been backfilled for the final time. DX Films were there to record this; the second part of their film will cover the analysis of, and reporting on, the excavation evidence.

So a big Thank You to the volunteers for their hard work and enthusiasm. It was a pleasure to work with you!

Kurt Hunter-Mann, Site Director, Romans in Ravenglass
York Archaeological Trust

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Comment: The end of the digging season, but ...

And sheep shall safely graze

Now the sheep can roam the fields unhindered by archaeology trenches. The last digging season has finished, but there's plenty to come yet! Look out for Director Kurt's final week's digging report and Finds Officer Sandra's focus on artefacts in the next few weeks, and much, much more in the coming months.

Finds Officer, Romans in Ravenglass