Incident Room

We are in Ribchester with the first year students. As well as being an important Roman fort and civil settlement the village was the setting for the second ever episode of Time Team. The spirits of Tony, Mick, Carenza and Phil hover over us (now there’s an image to conjure with) as we only have five days to unlock the mysteries of the western part of the fort.

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I have even attempted to turn myself back into a Roman pottery specialist for the week. This is Samian Ware from the top of the road we discovered. This piece is probably 2nd century, although most of the other pottery and the single coin from this site is much later and belongs to the mid-4th century.

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This is the road surface being uncovered on Wednesday, along with some much more recent concrete on the left hand side.

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The students have also been re-measuring and drawing the granaries, first exposed in 1908. This drawing shows the corner of one wall, a drain and some of the supports for the raised drying floor.

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And, of course, we have been doing more geophysical survey. This is what the resistivity meter made of the field on Anchor Hill that Karl and Justine surveyed with the gradiometer a few weeks ago. North is at the top of the picture. Red shows areas of high resistance, meaning dryer soil and probably buried stone. Blue shows areas of low resistance and the damper soil you get over buried ditches and pits. Time Team surveyed part of this field in the 90s but it looks as if we have been luckier with the sub-soil conditions, as there is more in our plot. You can see the broad red line of the Roman road across the top, although something interrupts it before it crosses the white space of the modern farm track. To the south of this the flanking ditch shows up blue and south of that again we seem to have quite a lot of rubble, possibly from civilian buildings outside the fort.

The corner of the fort defences are to the east of the image here. We seemed to have picked up a broad stone feature on the outside of this ditch, which shows as the curving red splodge on the right hand side of the plot.

Jim and Duncan, whose project this really is, have put a lot more Ribchester images up on the UCLan Archaeology Facebook page here, including the fantastic shamanic backfilling dance video.

Rick

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