Post excavation records- 03/06/19

The day was spent at Kings manor making sure that the records which were taken whilst on site were complete and that all the paperwork was accurate. Therefore the morning was spent making sure that the photo numbers matched the context numbers and that all the relevant information was written on the plans of the context.

Once the records were accurate the context sheets which held all the relevant data for the trench were ordered to form a matrix of our trench. The matrix shows the layers which are removed during the excavation and the order in which the sequences occurred. Therefore the topsoil is at the top and in the case of the antiquarian trench the following would be the backfill of the antiquarian trench then the cut of the antiquarian trench. As the cut of the trench is required to be done before it can be filled in.

The afternoon was spent making sure our plans of the trench all fit together and was placed on one big sheet of paper.

Picture of our completed drawing of the trench. Unfortunately the piece of paper we were given to stick the drawings together was split into two.- 03/06/19.

Once this was done we then were given the task of why we thought what we had in our trench was what we thought it was. Such as why the robbers hole is not the same as the postholes. The postholes were pretty much near perfect circles or rectangles and were all in the range of 30- 40 cm deep and had steep sides which would suggest the ability to hold some sort of structure on the cobbled surface. Whereas, the robbers hole appears in the middle of a wall and not on the cobbled surface and isn’t as deep as the other postholes. The shape of the robbers hole is irregular and therefore not designed to hold a post and therefore is likely to be something separate from the postholes.

picture of the postholes with their regular shapes outlined in yellow.- 14/05/19.
Picture of the robbers hole with its irregular shape outlined by the yellow line.- 13/05/19.

We also had to explain why we thought that we may have a blacksmiths. This idea was supported not only by the numerus nails we found and a horse shoe but within the structure there was evidence of a hearth from burning. There was also pervious knowledge that our side of the Roman road was commercial and that housing was on the other side and therefore supports the idea that we had a blacksmiths.

Picture of the horse shoe which we found.- 14/05/19.

S.S.Squires

Post excavation finds processing- 31/05/19

The day was once again spent at Kings manor, however, today was spent cleaning finds from Malton.

As finds were bagged up by type, such as pottery, tile or bone, and the context they were found in each bag of finds had to placed in a tray with the context number they were found in once cleaned. This is to ensure that when the finds are dated they can be linked to the location they were found and therefore date the context.

This can be applied to the coins which were found in our site which can be dated to the 3rd century, 201 to 300 AD, and therefore the context in which they were found.

Picture of the Roman coin found on site- 09/05/19.

The day was spent cleaning pottery from the site in order for them to be more easily seen and therefore more easily put into the type of pottery they are.

S.S.Squires

Post excavation environmental sampling- 30/05/19

The day was spent at King’s Manor going over environmental samples.

The morning was spent going through petri dishes and sorting material through material which had been environmentally sampled from the Malton excavation and had been through the process of floatation and sieving.

Picture of the material which is placed underneath the microscope to be sorted.- 30/05/19.

The material was sorted into all sorts of categories from CBM (building material), bone, seeds, plant remains, shell, slag, charcoal and rock. As this material had been sieved through 1mm mesh the material was extremely tiny and therefore required the use of a microscope.

Picture of the shell pieces which were sorted from the material.- 30/05/19.
Picture of the plant remains which were sorted from the material.- 30/05/19.
Picture of some of the rocks which was sorted from the material.- 30/05/19.

Whilst going through the material I did find an unusual piece of material which was like a small link of a chain as it was a piece of round material with a hole in the centre.

Picture of the unusual piece of material which was sorted which is round and has a hole through the middle of it.- 30/05/19.

This could be a link in a chain, a tiny bead or an extremely unusual rock. However, due to the size of the piece of material, being smaller than 1mm, I think it is unlikely to be from a chain as it would have had to been an extremely delicate chain.

The afternoon was spent doing the process which leads up to the material being sorted. Therefore the afternoon was spent putting environmental samples through the process of floatation. This is the process where the bags or buckets of dirt which were collected from site are placed in a floatation tank and water is pumped into the tank. Any material which is light and floats runs of from the tank onto a 1mm sieve. Material which is heavy sinks to the bottom. Surrounding the tank is a set of mesh and therefore the mud and dirt from the bag or bucket slip through the mesh and to the very bottom of the bag.

The material which has sunk to the bottom but has not fallen through the mesh is then taken out and dried out to get the material which is sorted through.

Picture of the material which is placed under the microscope to be sorted.- 30/05/19.

S.S.Squires

The Roman attire worn by Remus

The interpretation of Remus’ uniform as part of the Roman army consists of; a shield, armour and helmet.

Picture of a 3D paper model of a interpretation of a Roman soldier called Remus.

The shield Remus was given is quite tall and is curved as per the design of a shield carried by a legionary (1. Pg.3.).  By the design of the shield being curved it offered more protection than a flat shield as it covered more of the body and came closer to the body. Thus, making it harder to be harmed from the sides unlike a flat shield which would leave the sides open to attack. Also, due to design these shields could easily be positioned in a defence position with others to form a defence system which is difficult to be done with circular shields. Due to the size and weight of the shield it would make it hard to hold weaponry and therefore the shield was usually paired with a javelin or short sword (1. Pg.3.).

Picture of Remus and his shield with the yellow showing the curvature of the shield- 28/05/19

The armour Remus is wearing covers his chest with a red tunic underneath as the metal in which the armour was made out was heavy (2) and therefore the extra layer provided by the tunic would add comfort from the heavy armour which protected them. As the Roman army in the Ancient World was the biggest army (2) the sheer number of soldiers who required armour would have extremely high and therefore the armour could have been designed to cover the main weakness of a person which is their chest. Extra armour for the rest of the body would have also weighed the soldier down even more and would have cost the army even more and therefore the armour would have been designed to cover the main weakness.

The helmet, galea, Remus is wearing offered protection to cheeks and neck (2). Thus, protecting the back of the neck from harm and also part of the face unlike a full helmet which would have covered the entire head and weighed even more. By having a helmet like this it offered protection for the majority of the head it also meant that they could be made in batches keeping the cost down for the army. The helmet Remus is wearing is likely to have been a ceremonial helmet due to the crest on top which would have been made out of horsehair (2). This could have been added on by Remus himself.

Picture of Remus and his helmet. The yellow outline showing the plate which would have covered his cheek and the red outline showing the chest.- 28/05/19.

S.S.Squires

Bibliography

(1)- Sabin, P. (2000). The Face of Roman Battle. The Journal of Roman Studies, 90, 1-17.

(2)- BBC. (2019). What was life like in the Roman army? [Online]. BBC Bitesize, UK. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/bitesize/articles/zqbnfg8. [Accessed 28/05/19].

Troubles with the drain in our trench

When the drain was first found in our trench it was cut in half by an antiquarian trench, around 1800s to 1900s, and the end of the trench seemed to go into a ditch. However, the drain seemed to just disappear as the capping stones just ended and no walls of the drain were visible after the last visible capping stone.

Picture of the last capping stone which is indicated by the yellow line and shows that the drain was lost after this capping stone.- 10/05/19.

Another issue which also occurred with this side of the drain to the left of the antiquarian trench, same part of the drain as the picture above, is that when we came to remove one of the capping stones to excavate the drain fill the sides of the drain were not visible and were not found during the excavation of the drain fill.

Picture of what was visible after the removal of the capping stone.- 16/05/19.

The capping stones were designed to sit on top of the sides of the drain and could easily be removed in order to maintain the drain and get rid of any blockages which would occur yet under the capping stone we decided to remove there was no indication of said walls. However, in the same length of drain we had found sides of the drain in an area where no capping stone was covering the drain.

Picture of the drain walls in an area where there was no capping stones for coverage.- 16/05/19.

It could be possible that the drain walls were removed at some point as the other side of the drain, to the right of the antiquarian trench, was missing numerous capping stones and therefore the drain could have been taken partly apart after it was no longer in use.

Picture of the only remaining capping stones to the right of the antiquarian trench, the capping stones highlighted by the yellow circles.- 13/05/19.

Another possible answer is that the drain was not maintained properly while in use and therefore became to the state as above due to the lack of proper care of it.

Another problem which occurred while excavating the part of the drain to the right of the antiquarian trench was that whilst removing the drain fill we were unable to the find the bottom of the drain. Usually as the ground is permeable in order to make sure water flows through a drain the bottom is also made out of the same material as the rest of the drain. However, during the entire excavation of the drain no bottom was found at all. This could suggest that the drain was poorly made or that it may not be a drain at all but due to its linear design it is a deliberate feature.

Picture of the drain taken from the antiquarian trench which shows that whilst this part of the drain has side walls it has no bottom.- 16/05/19.

S.S.Squires

What did we find on excavation

Due to our trench never having been excavated before we didn’t get as deep into the archaeology as trenches which have been opened in the previous years. Therefore the finds which were found in our trench came from the archaeology closer to the topsoil and not as deep down as other trenches.

Picture of our trench to show the depth the trench went down to.- 16/05/19.

Whilst on excavation we found some of the usual stuff which is usually found in any field. These being pieces of clay pipes, sherds of pottery and small pieces of animal bones. Pieces of clay pipes are quite common in any field as they would have been discarded by the farm hands in the past when they broke whilst they were working on the land. Their frequency is also increased due to the amount of years pipes were popular means of smoking. Sherds of pottery and small pieces of animal bones are also common due to manuring practices in which broken pieces of objects or bone are also placed on the field.

However, we did find a few things which may have been from the Roman period such as one or two coins and a metal horseshoe. Coins are also quite often found due to them being made out of metal which makes them durable even if they start to corrode in the ground due to the minerals in the soil. The coins found may have been accidentally dropped and just not picked up or they could have been left behind if the area was abandoned. However, due to the settlement being there for quite a long period it is most likely that the coins which were found were likely to have been dropped and just not picked up.

Picture of a Roman coin from our trench.- 09/05/19.

The metal horseshoe may be from the roman period as it was found within a structure which is thought to have been Roman. However, the purpose of the said horseshoe is difficult to understand as it is extremely small and unlikely to have been placed on a horse so young and therefore could have been a decorative piece in the structure as it was found close to the wall of a structure. It could have also been used as part of a game set such as the horseshoe toss in which the horseshoe is thrown at a stick in the ground and the aim is to get the horseshoe around the stick.

Picture of an extremely small horseshoe which was found within our trench.- 14/05/19.

We also found a sherd of Samian ware which is from the roman period as Samian ware was only created during this period. It is also known that Samian ware was imported from Gaul, modern day France, and therefore was quite expensive. Due to this type of ware being expensive it was likely only to be used during special occasions or as a display piece as they are usually decorated which this sherd was.

Picture of a sherd of Roman Samian ware imported from Gaul.- 13/05/19.

S.S.Squires

Top finds from Malton- part 2

Malton Museum finds- continued

Picture of a cup with no handles replica from the Malton Museum. (1).- 02/05/19.

The above picture is that of a replica cup which has no handles but instead has inwards facing grooves for easy handling. This could have been designed to just have no handles but due to the inwards grooves it makes handling the cup easier than handling a cup with handles and therefore could have been designed to be used by a child or for easier use than a cup with handles.

Third week of finds

Picture of a Roman coin which was found in our trench.- 09/05/19.

The above picture is that of a Roman coin which was found in our trench. Unfortunately due to a long period under the ground the only feature which shows it was once a coin in circulation is its round shape. This coin could have been passed between many people during its circulation and therefore could have been used by all sorts of people from all different backgrounds in order to buy goods. Therefore this coin could have been the equivalent of a pound coin today.

Fourth week of finds

Picture of a sherd of samian ware which was found within our trench.- 13/05/19.

The above picture is that of a sherd of samian ware which was found within our trench. The piece of samian ware would have been a part of a bigger piece of samian ware which would have been imported from Gaul, modern day France. It was therefore a luxury ware as it wasn’t made in the local area and had to be imported in and it was due to this that it was more expensive to buy. This piece could have very well been a part of a set or dish which was used for display in a home or for use at important events for the rich in Malton as it showed a persons wealth.

Picture of an extremely small horseshoe which was found within our trench.- 14/05/19.

The above picture is that of an extremely small horseshoe which was found just on the inside of a structure within our trench. As it is unlikely to have been put on a horse due to its small size it could have been used for its superstitious value of bringing good luck and warding away evil from a home when placed on a wall of the home. It could also suggest that the structure it was found in was also structure it was created in and therefore could suggest that the structure is a blacksmiths.

S.S.Squires

Bibliography

(1)- Malton Museum. (N/A). Homepage. [Online]. Malton Museum, North Yorkshire. Available at: https://www.maltonmuseum.co.uk/. [Accessed 22/05/19].

Top finds from Malton- Part 1

Some interesting finds from our trench and others

Finds from the first week

As the first week on site at Malton was mostly spent removing the turf and topsoil to create our trench the finds we found in our trench were quite normal and included pieces of clay pipe, small sherds of pottery and small pieces of animal bones. However, whilst we didn’t find anything which was outstanding another trench did find a piece of pottery which located the place in which we were excavating.

Picture of a piece/ sherd of pottery which bears the name Malton and the letter J above.- 26/04/19.

This sherd of pottery was found by another group and whilst it is not Roman it holds importance to the local history. Due to the sherd having the start of a base it is likely to be a sherd of a commemorative jug or mug which was likely made my a local firm as the letter above the M in Malton is a J and seem to be in an arch pattern which could either be the producers name or the title of an event. If this is the case a logo or pattern could have been under the arch and above Malton. This piece is likely to be quite young in its age and may have been used by a local. it is likely to have been made during the industrial revolution when Malton was producing linen (1) and had local breweries (2). Therefore this piece could have very well had something to do with one of the local breweries. This sherd is not from the Roman period as at the time the fort was supposedly called Derventio (3) and therefore the settlement would have also been given a Latin name.

Malton Museum finds

Picture of a roman roof tile from the Malton Museum which holds the footprint of a young child.- 02/05/19.

The above picture is of a roman roof tile which has come from Malton (3). On the underside of the tile is a footprint of a young child. It is unknown how exactly the child’s footprint came to be on the tile but one idea is that when the tile was placed outside in the sun to dry that a child may have been playing in area and may have accidentally ran across the roof tile. Another idea is that the footprint was put on there for a reason such as marking the birth of the child and todays tradition to sometimes have imprints of a child’s hands or feet on plates or other memorabilia.

Picture of a prehistoric chalk figurine replica from the Malton Museum.- 02/05/19.

The above picture is that of a replica of a prehistoric chalk figurine (4). This was also found in Malton and is on display at Malton Museum. While these figurines are designed to look like warriors or fighters and have swords on their back their exact use is unknown. However, as they are made out of chalk they could have been a child’s toy or used for display.

Picture of a copper alloy duck weight replica from the Malton Museum.- 02/05/19.

The above picture shows a replica of a copper allow duck which was designed to be a weight on a scale (3). Therefore this could have been very well used as a weight on scales in a shop or to measure ingredients as home. Due to its sliding design along a balance bar it could have also been used to teach math and due to its duck design could have been used to teach math to small children.

Picture of a jet mother bear replica from the Malton Museum.- 02/05/19.

The above picture is that of a replica a jet mother bear which was found inside the fort at Malton buried with a young child (4). As it was placed with the child after death it could have been a present to the child or placed within the grave as protection as it is a mother bear and therefore would protect the young child from any harm after death.

Picture of a sherd of a decorated pottery vessel replica from the Malton Museum.- 02/05/19.

The above picture is that of a replica piece of a pottery vessel which is decorated with Blacksmiths tools (4). This would have likely been used by the person it was decorated to describe and therefore was likely to have been used by the blacksmith. It could have also been a display piece for the blacksmith in his shop. It could have also been gifted to the blacksmith to describe the job description of a blacksmith.

S.S.Squires

Bibliography

(1)- The Wesley Centre Malton. (N/A). History of Malton. [Online]. The Wesley Centre Malton, North Yorkshire. Available at: https://www.maltonwesleycentre.org/history-of-malton. [Accessed 22/05/19].

(2)- Malton Museum. (N/A). After the Romans. [Online]. Malton Museum, North Yorkshire. Available at: https://www.maltonmuseum.co.uk/collection/after-the-romans/. [Accessed 22/05/19].

(3)- Malton Museum. (N/A). Roman Collection. [Online]. Malton Museum, North Yorkshire. Available at: https://www.maltonmuseum.co.uk/collection/roman-collection/. [Accessed 22/05/19].

(4)- Malton Museum. (N/A). Favourite Objects. [Online]. Malton Museum, North Yorkshire. Available at: https://www.maltonmuseum.co.uk/collection/favourite-objects/. [Accessed 22/05/19].

Short overview of each day on site

A short overview for each day within the four weeks of excavation

First week on site

First Day- 23/04/19

The day was spent removing topsoil and turf via the use of mattocks in a trench which had never been previously excavated before. The finds from today included small sherds of pottery, small animal bones and pieces of clay pipes.

Second Day- 24/04/19

Continued removal of topsoil and turf in order to create the boundary of the trench. The finds from today were similar to that of the finds found in the topsoil from the day previous but also included several oyster shells.

Third Day- 25/04/19

The removal of topsoil was done more gently in order to get down onto the archaeology and therefore was removed via the use of trowels. We also found what looks like the start of a wall. The first metal find was also found today and was a metal nail.

Fourth Day- 26/04/19

The removal of the topsoil via the use of trowels was continued and this led to the discovery of what looked like a drainage system. The wall which was previously found was found not to be in alignment with the Roman Road which goes through the centre of the Roman Settlement.

Second week on site

Fifth Day- 29/04/19

The removal of topsoil continued and more of the wall was revealed to show a substantial wall which is thought to have been well built and designed to last a long period and may have been made for living purposes. Similar finds were found to what was found last week. An antiquarian trench was also located due to the colour change found when troweling.

Eighth Day- 02/05/19

A cobbled surface was revealed near the wall. The majority of the day was spent digging out the backfill which was placed into the antiquarian trench when the trench was filled in after it was finished with. A collapse section found in-between the wall and the antiquarian trench was planned and was started to be removed.

Ninth Day- 03/05/19

Today the cobbles were being cleaned in order to plan them. The collapse was being removed and revealed what was thought to be an upwards slope meaning that the feature underneath may be sloped. The wall which was found previously is now thought as a boundary wall for a structure which starts at the edge of our trench and continues into the field.

Third week on site

Tenth Day- 07/05/19

The antiquarian trench was finally fully cleaned out and photographs of the feature were taken and goes straight through the drainage system. The collapse is now thought to also contain a cut at its edge meaning that at some point the collapse was dug into. The cobbles near the boundary wall are now thought to go up to the wall and therefore are linked to the structure. Finds from today included the normal stuff and two coins which were found at the bottom of the antiquarian trench.

Eleventh Day- 09/05/19

Charcoal was found under the deposit of the collapse suggesting that something could have been burnt there. Cleaning was also done around the drainage system in order to plan the feature and then excavate.

Twelfth Day- 10/05/19

A nail was spotted in the corner of the antiquarian trench and was likely to have been placed into the wall by the antiquarians which made the trench in the 1800s-1900s. A equilateral triangular sherd of pottery was found along with an unusual sherd of what may be tile or pottery of a blueish colour being sandwiched in-between a red material on either side. It was also noticed today that there is a cut within the boundary wall which means that at some point someone dug into the boundary wall. The drain was finished being cleaned and ends at a ditch and therefore thought to have led into said ditch.

Fourth and final week on site

Thirteenth Day- 13/05/19

The cut into the boundary wall is now thought to be a robbers hole and either something was stolen from the boundary wall or the hole was used to store something. Postholes were also found on what is thought to be external cobbles and therefore means that a wooden structure was at some point placed on top of the cobbles. A sherd of samian ware was also found along with the regular finds. Samian ware is thought as a luxury ware as it is usually detailed and imported from outside of Britain. The drain was finally cleaned and therefore was planned and photographed.

Fourteenth Day- 14/05/19

A extremely small horseshoe was found within the structure linked with the boundary wall and may have been used for its superstitious value of keeping away evil as it was located near the wall. The capping stones on the drain were planned and removed. After their removal the drain fill underneath the capping stones was planned in order for the drain fill to be excavated and taken to be sampled. A total of five postholes were found on the cobbled surface and therefore show some sort of structure was there at some point.

Sixteenth Day- 16/05/19

The rest of the capping stones on the opposite of the drain which was separated by the antiquarian trench were planned in order to be excavated. Once the planning was complete only one of the capping stones was removed as time was running out and therefore excavation of the drain fill only occurred under the one capping stone and an area where the capping stone was missing. The horseshoe which was previously found was suggested to have been made in the structure and that the structure may very well have been a blacksmiths.

Final Day- 17/05/19

Due to the day being the last day of excavation the day was spent rushing to finish and make sure all the paperwork was complete for the trench and all of it was accurate. The entire trench was planned so that the next season of excavation can carry on from where we finished.

S.S.Squires