Week four has finally seen some rain and the site has benefited from the dampness and started to show up a number of the features really clearly.
We are now pretty confident that we are looking at some late Roman areas of cobbling and associated industrial activity. These areas sit either side of the main road going north from the second fort, which has ditches either side of it. It looks like there is also at least one side road, coming off the main one at 90 degrees and heading roughly south-east. It appears that we have a building on the northern corner of this side road and the main road, but we need to do some more investigation here to work that out.
Nearer to the fort, we continue to expose the cobbling which has slumped into the possible ditch associated with the first defensive structures. Just inside this we may have evidence of a line of turf, which could represent some early rampart structures. We continue to work at peeling the layers away here to try and determine the exact nature of the defences – only time will tell!
The combination of the dry weather, which has been revealing buried archaeological features across the country, and the recent rain, which has shown up the exposed road surface and cobbling areas in our trench, mean that it is a perfect time for Oskar from NAA to come out with a drone and take photographs of the site and surrounding area. We’re really excited to see whether his photos show up any new buried enclosures or other archaeological features that have so far escaped detection out in the wider landscape of the fort. Can you spot the drone in the photo to the left?
We also had a closer look at one of the pieces of rubble spotted in the cobbling area, following a suggestion from an archaeological colleague via Twitter that it might be a stone lamp base. We’ve looked at it again and feel pretty sure it is part of an altar but only taking it out, along with its context, which we hope to do at some point in the next few weeks, will tell us for sure!
For now, we’ll keep plugging away exposing the cobbling areas and uncovering the full road, and hope for a little more rain to keep the site soft and easier to understand.
Check back in a few days to see how things are progressing!