The dig is drawing to a close, but that hasn’t slowed us down. With new trenches, virtual fun and a good smattering of Roman archaeology, this week has definitely kept us busy!

With only a week left of our dig at Roman East Park, the field team is feeling the pressure to find out as much about this unique and though-provoking site as possible in the time we have left.

So, what have we been up to?

We started working on another trench:

Completely untouched archaeology: our dream! That’s what Ben has been working on in Trench 3, one of the smaller trenches to the south of our largest (the focus of our digging until now). Despite being much smaller in size, this trench has already given us some nice archaeology to look at.

Ben started by cleaning back the surface, just like we did at the very start of the dig in our big trench. Immediately we could see all sorts of things poking out the surface. We could see animal bone, pot and even possible ditches only a matter of hours into digging.

We weren’t wrong either, Ben excavated a lovely assemblage of Roman pottery from what appears to be another large ditch, similar to those we found previously. Strangely though, when he dug a section into another feature, all he found was a single animal tooth. That’s pretty unusual for this site, where we seem to be finding decent amounts of pottery within each feature.

We noticed something really cool on a pottery sherd:

A piece of pot excavated from the main trench proved to be very exciting when the team noticed a possible potter’s stamp. In archaeology, this is the initials of the person who made that particular pot. They’re super useful for archaeologists because with certain stamps we can trace them back to the manufacturer. We have fingers crossed hoping we’ll be able to do the same here.

This isn’t the first find of this nature we found at East Park. Previous digs have uncovered pottery that has potentially been linked to the nearby Piercebridge Roman Fort. If we could find similar links, that would be amazing! Let’s see what post-ex analysis reveals.

We hosted a couple of super virtual events:

This week was our busiest week yet for virtual content! Ginny was busy hosting our Virtual Tour for families live from the trench. And what a great session it was! We had an amazing time sharing the archaeology with you all and hearing all your lovely questions.

Then, we wrapped up the week with our photogrammetry workshops, led by DigVentures’ very own Chris. He did a fantastic job teaching some of you about how to build your own 3D models of Legs Cross. It’s been super exciting to involve you guys in the beginning of our investigation at Legs Bolam, another Brightwater site. Keep an eye out to see the results of the workshops!

Next week we have our Wrap Up Q&A with the field team, so if you fancy hearing what we’ve found – straight from the archaeologists themselves – or just fancy a bit of a chat, sign up on our Eventbrite!

What’s left to do?

Nat is a man with a plan. The team are full of energy and ready to jump into next week. We’ve been busy recording everything as we go, which takes a bit of time but is probably one of the most important things we do on site.

Either way, we’re making great progress in our main trench, and soon enough we’ll be heading into even more untouched archaeology when we begin working through our final trench.

Are you looking forward to the last week? We definitely are!

Feel free to drop us a message with your thoughts – we always love to hear from you all.

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.