Farewell, North Field

Day three of excavation – and day one for me! I’ve been sick for a while, but after two days of waiting impatiently at home, I finally felt well enough today to join my classmates in the North Field. Luckily, yesterday’s rain helped soften up the clay, so the work was a bit easier (or so I’m told).

Today’s dig was all about feel. We spent a few hours searching for the edges of what we thought might be a defensive ditch. To do that, we had to trowel through layers of silt and sand until we hit the hard clay bottom and sides of our potential feature.

What we hoped was a defensive ditch in the bottom left. Above, a test pit dug by Alex, who watches as some of our team explores another potential feature near the ramp. A lot was going on in this trench!

Unfortunately, the hole we dug up didn’t appear to be man-made at all! After some discussion with Alex, we decided it might be some sort of riverbed, or simply the result of two thousand years of happenstance. It’s a bit disappointing, but at the same time, it’s a valuable lesson – sometimes you just don’t find anything. But you never know until you try!

However, our work was not for nothing – the presence of unusual silt deposits in our trench suggests there might be man-made features underneath, just ones we hadn’t reached yet. Any material from that time would be buried deeply in the ground, so we decided to give ourselves a break and let someone with a mechanical digger have a go at it instead.

And thus, I had to say farewell to the North Field only a few hours after meeting it for the first time! When lunchtime rolled around, we packed up all our tools in wheelbarrows and rolled them back along the bumpy road to the main site.

All ready to go!

After that, our group was split up to work in different parts of the vicus – but there’ll be more on that tomorrow!


What will we find next?

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