This week we battled wind, rain and dodgy phone signal as we got through our first staff-only week at our Roman dig in East Park. But the archaeology never stops, especially at a site like this…

As another week draws to a close, our dig at East Park – looking into the massive Roman settlement as part of the Discover Brightwater project – continues to give us a lot of interesting things to think about.

Last week we might have said goodbye to the Venturers face to face, but our new concoction of virtual events means we can still stay in touch with everyone, familiar and new!

So, what did we actually get up to this week?

We tried our best to just keep digging, despite the British autumnal weather:

This week the weather definitely kept us on our toes. Rain, fog and overall soggy Britishness made cleaning our archaeological features pretty difficult. When we clean the soil (a strange term, we know!), we take off a thin layer to even up the ground and to help us see all the colour changes in the soil. That way, we can identify possible features to investigate on a deeper level.

Additionally, when we record features by photographing them, to make a record for us to refer to when we finalise our interpretation and write up reports post-excavation, we want them to look nice and clean. That way, we can look back and see exactly what was going on in and around the feature.

What does this have to do with rain? Well, a bit of damp can completely wash away any cleaning, which can set us back a fair bit. This week, it felt a bit like a race against the heavens to get some of these features cleaned and photographed! Although, it made for some pretty atmospheric mornings.

We lifted another Roman pot:

If you read last week’s diary, you’ll have heard about our second pot. Somewhat smaller, and less complete than our first, it’s still a pretty juicy find. The potential pots have to give us some key info about the people who lived here is huge. Like before, Nat made sure to leave the pot in section until he had everything fully recorded. Then, he carefully lifted the pot, being sure to make certain it was nicely supported.

As per usual, he did a cracking job, and we now have a second pot ready for micro-excavation in the coming weeks! Want to find out more? Keep an eye on our virtual events in the coming weeks …

We hosted our first virtual tour:

On Thursday, we got to see some of our Venturers again! Well, sort of. We hosted our first Live Virtual Tour, lead by Ginny. Any observers got to take a look at the site and ask about finds, features and our field team themselves.

Missed it? You can watch it here!

What’s this about virtual events?

We’ve mentioned the virtual events a few times now, and we’re hoping you’re feeling the anticipation! With our new plan of action in accordance with recently implemented government guidelines, we wanted to make extra sure that everyone at home still gets their archaeology fix. So, we’ve planned out a series of online events and handy skill-building guides to help you all keep up to date with the site and brush up on your skills.

You can find out more here.

What do we have to look forward to?

We ended this week by extending some of our slots to look into some untouched potential features. We could tell there were more to be found from the original plan of the site. The plan, a drawing of the site when it was first cleaned, showed some more ditches and features ripe for investigating. Given how much we’ve found already, who knows what might show up…

As always, drop us a comment or get in touch with your thoughts!

About Discover Brightwater

This dig is part of Discover Brightwater – a huge project which aims to restore, reveal and celebrate life around the River Skerne.

It is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and the events which focus on the historic environment are the initiative of Durham County Council’s Archaeology Section. As part of the project, DigVentures is organising public participation in events at five different archaeological sites, including East Park, Legs Cross Bolam, and Bishop Middleham. Find out more.