Friday, 20 November 2015

Report: The Roman in Ravenglass Project Report 2013-2015

The Romans in Ravenglass final project report is now available to download from ArcHeritage

It includes a full analysis of the all the trenches excavated, plus the geophysics and finds reports. Beware, the document is large (142 MB), so may take some time to download!

Monday, 9 November 2015

Congratulations! Romans in Ravenglass archaeologist wins award ...

Jon supervises young archaeologists in Trench 4

Dr Jon Kenny, who taught school children out in Ravenglass Trench 4 in 2014, has won the Council for British Archaeology Marsh Community Archaeologist of the Year award!
Well known for helping Yorkshire community archaeology groups, Jon is a deserving winner of this prize. We're proud that he helped us out at Ravenglass too. Congratulations Jon!

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Hadrian's Wall Archaeology Forum 2015

"Hadrian's wall at Greenhead Lough" by Velella -Licensed under Public Domain

Thank you to David Brear who has pointed out that this year's Hadrian's Wall Archaeology Forum is on 28th November:

A further search gave these details:

This will bring us up to date with excavations on the Wall 2015.  The Hadrian’s Wall Archaeology Forum is an annual day-conference featuring talks for the general public about new discoveries in the Hadrian’s Wall frontier zone including the Cumbrian coast. This year’s programme features talks on excavation projects at Maryport (Steve Rowland and Tony Wilmott), Vindolanda (Andrew Birley) and Wallsend (Nick Hodgson) as well as that at Binchester (David Mason) which has revealed arguably the best-preserved Roman building in the whole of Britain. There will also be a range of publications on sale at reduced prices. Price = £12.00 (includes tea/coffee mid-morning and mid-afternoon). 

No representation from Romans in Ravenglass this year, but the nearby fort of Maryport has a lecture.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Comment: How to see the Romans in Ravenglass!

(Photo by Rowan May)

Now that the project is nearly complete, there are several new Roman attractions visitors can see in Ravenglass ...

There is a new interpretation board next to the Roman Baths, in addition to those installed by English Heritage:

And there is a display in the Pennington Hotel, which means the display free to all, and open when the hotel is:

In addition, at the Ravenglass & Eskdale Steam Railway (aka La'al Ratty) there will also be a small selection of the Roman finds collected by local people over the years.

Appearing not just in Ravenglass, the dig report is currently receiving final touches and will be available to download soon.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Conference: Lake District Annual Archaeology Conference (with Romans in Ravenglass)

Date: Sunday 11 October 2015
Location: The Theatre by the Lake, Keswick
Cost: £13.50 (with tea and coffee), £19.75 (with tea, coffee and lunch)

This year the conference will provide an opportunity to learn about recent projects carried out in partnership with local communities and volunteers both within and closely adjacent to the National Park. Many of these have been supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Romans in Ravenglass Site Director Kurt will be speaking at 3.15pm.

For further details see:

For booking form see:

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Amendment to the event: Romans in Ravenglass: end of season lecture, 18th July

Please note, there will now only be 1 end of season lecture. This will run in the morning between 10am and 12pm only.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Event: Romans in Ravenglass: end of season lecture, 18th July

 6th September 2013 - it rained a bit ;)

On Saturday 18 July, see what was discovered and hear more about the results from the 2013 and 2014 excavation of the civilian settlement at Ravenglass, from site director Kurt Hunter-Mann. Come along to either a morning or afternoon session. Lecture held at the Pennington Hotel, Main St, Ravenglass.

Places for this event will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. The same event will run in the morning and afternoon. When making a booking, please state which session you are attending. Please e-mail: to book a place.

Further details from the Festival of Archaeology 2015 website.

Also, if you took photos of the dig, please send your favourites to and we'll feature some of them on the blog. There may be a small (and appropriate) prize for what the dig team judge to be their favourite ...!

Friday, 22 May 2015

Course: Free & online, 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.

Hadrian’s Wall stretches over 73 miles (117 km), from coast to coast in what is now Northern England. The Wall, complemented by a sophisticated system of outposts and coastal watch stations, offers a remarkable glimpse of ancient society. In addition to housing one of the largest concentrations of Roman soldiers anywhere in the Empire’s provinces, Hadrian’s frontier system was home to an incredibly cosmopolitan array of civilians.

This six week course offers a comprehensive introduction to Hadrian’s Wall and its people and raises fascinating issues concerning colonisation, cultural transformation, immigration, integration and imperialism. 

A great chance to explore the background to the context of Roman Ravenglass. This free, online course ran last year to much praise from those who signed up. Starts June 15th.  Check it out here.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Report: Focus on the finds - the pottery

A few pottery highlights from the finds tray!  Dr Paul Bidwell has assessed the ceramics, and most of the Roman pottery is 2nd-3rd century in date.

Though the Samian was generally in rather a poor condition due to the soil conditions on site, we still had a fair amount of interesting sherds.

Fig. 1 Mars?
This fragment of Samian might depict Mars, as the figure appears to be holding a spear.  If it is Mars, it's a great partner to our Venus from last season!  The piece is from a Dragondorff 37 bowl

Figure 2 - Dancing girl?
This sherd may show a dancing girl, or could be a particular goddess. The piece is from a Dragondorff 37 bowl

 Fig. 3 Plain cup
This is a sherd of Samian from a plain cup, Dragondorff form 33.  It would have been used for drinking wine!

Fig. 4 Samian decoration
The Dragondorff 37 form has a bead rim, which means it's small and and rounded.  These joining sherds are a little burnt, but show the decoration often found at the top of Dragondorff 37 bowl.  The fancy decoration is called ovolo, or egg and tongue moulding.

Fig 5. Roman ink well
These Samian inkwell sherds were found on the beach. It has an inner lip to prevent spillage and is possibly Samian form Ritterling 13, similar to this.


Fig. 6 Head pot sherds
These strange looking sherds are fragments of head pots, decorated with bosses and a straited cordon.  They have parallels in York and generally the north-east.

Fig. 7 Pot lids? - two ceramic (top left & bottom right, and two stone (top right & bottom left)
These circular pieces are often identified at pot lids, gaming counters or may be some sort of weights.  Also, recently, there was another theory - that they were Roman toilet 'paper.'   Not totally convincing, especially due to the rather hard nature of the pot and stone!  This clutch all came from the same context - it remains to be seen if they were near a latrine ...

Fig. 8 Moselkeramik beaker
These joining sherds are from a Moselkeramik indented beaker.  The slip is dark, almost metallic.  These pots come from the Trier area, Germania.

Of course we had lots more pottery which will be reported on in due course

Course: Hadrian's Wall - Life on the Frontier

Free online course from Newcastle University starting 15th June!

From the website: "This six week course offers a comprehensive introduction to Hadrian’s Wall and its people and raises fascinating issues concerning colonisation, cultural transformation, immigration, integration and imperialism. We will explore life in the region before the construction of the Wall, the arrival of the Roman army and its impact on the local population. Detailed case studies will consider the different features of the Wall and its surroundings, considering the way in which the frontier system evolved throughout the Roman period. The changing face of both the Roman army and indigenous populations is richly illuminated through archaeological finds and reconstructions. To appreciate the range and character of native people, soldiers’ families, slaves, merchants and migrants, we will examine their homes, dress, diet, rituals and religious beliefs.

Drawing on the very latest research, we will investigate how archaeologists interpret evidence, considering:
  • the factors that determine the survival of evidence
  • the different methods of archaeological prospection used to detect settlement locations and better understand their organisation
  • the planning of archaeological projects
  • excavation techniques
  • and the detailed study of structures and artefacts.
As part of the course you can test your understanding of these methods with real case studies and participate in a series of archaeological experiments designed to help you appreciate the complexities of daily life on Rome’s most famous frontier."

Friday, 13 February 2015

Conference: Roman Castleshaw Archaeology Day, 21st March 2015

Ravenglass Dig Director Kurt will be speaking about the Ravenglass excavations at this conference in Uppermill, Saddleworth, near Oldham. Kurt has a previous connection with Castleshaw as he was a supervisor on the Manpower Services Commission sponsored excavations there in the 1980s. He's looking forward to seeing some familiar faces.

Also on the programme are a number of other Cumbrian Roman digs:

For details on how to book click here.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Comment: Romans in Ravenglass videos now live

The results of 2014 archaeological excavation are now available to watch here.  (Scroll down to short video about last season). The video goes into some detail about some of the finds discovered over the two seasons of the project.

Find out what happened in 2013 watching our archaeology experts and volunteers give their insights in these Season 1 videos.