30.7.14 – Week 4 Day 3

Doing this blog job feels a bit like panning for gold…. and every day I find some for you, even if very tiny!

But no need to look hard today for first up was the gold nugget training workshop with Ruth Leary, Roman pottery expert. We had a very interesting talk indeed followed by a session on how to record pottery finds… sorting/identifying/measuring/ and so on.  I’m pretty confident that everyone there thoroughly enjoyed it.  Thanks ever so much Ruth and we hope to see you again soon.



Here is our mystery object…DSC_0527…having just had its drop of lemon juice administered, by me, for the ‘weak acid solution’ test – if it fizzed the inclusions would be x, or y, … if it didn’t fizz they would probably be z…. where z is fuel-ash slag. It didn’t fizz – so the answer is that the inclusions in the pottery are probably fuel-ash slag! ….which makes it possible Pre-Roman, but nothing definite yet, maybe more tests later.  By the way just out of interest did you know that Pre-Pottery Neolithic people in Ancient Near East put such mixtures into lime plaster to temper it?  And that the fuel-ash could have been from a variety of sources including sacrificial feasting?


Fantastic piece of pottery though?  Incidentally this came from our test-pitting in Ella’s garden and I must tell you that she’s fallen downstairs top to bottom and is badly bruised, but nothing broken thankfully.  I’m putting the photo of her here again so that you can think of her.



Back at the museum – Carol showed us some of the archive from previous digs at Castleshaw as well as related donations from the area and we have now our second mystery object….DSC_0531

..this is it being put together from the several pieces that it is now… DSC_0532..and here is how it would look if intact –


– any ideas?  It’s white like quartz inside and is quite marble-ized on the outside, cool, smooth and shiny.  It has a hole in the top.  Answers on message pad here please!

Now up to Castleshaw for lunch and here’s the promised picture of the piece of Samian found by Sue last night….DSC_0546

 Trench 6 is the happening place today, and it was being supervised by Sarah… who came back to see us because she likes it up here!  DSC_0555… And her band of workers were doing good stuff – Marc losing himself in posthole – chairman staring at ground – another posthole being excavated….

.DSC_0550DSC_0554DSC_0551… and look below at the jutting out bit of Via Praetoria – now looking like another road shooting off to the North…though Sarah thinks it may well be a hard-standing place in front of an East Gate tower.  Not sure whether we would have time or permission to find out.


DSC_0560 here’s the other side of the road looking even more as though it swerves off, at least in one phase, over to the right.. and the feature at the other corner of Trench 6 is looking much like the terminus of the looked-for ditch.


And I can tell you that the finds tray from this context, collected by Linda and Alison, is looking full of very interesting ditch fill.

Here’s the best bit though – half a melon bead!  This one is verging dark green from turquoise and not sure if glass, paste, faience, or ceramic. Excavated by Linda, lucky Linda.



Day 4 awaits!  B

By the way if anyone has emailed me on the bloggerina@castleshawarchaeology.co.uk address it hasn’t got here – someone did and it didn’t arrive – write again with message to the page if possible   B



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