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Chester Amphitheatre Project Blog


Welcome to the official Blog of the Chester Amphitheatre Project.

Tuesday, August 10

Amphitheatre Diary Three

The summer holidays are here and visitor numbers at the excavation are soaring. Interest in the work is enormous and seems to be growing. There is a constant stream of people over the viewing platform - especially at weekends.

At present the trench near the road is full of people down deep holes (Area A). This is because we are emptying medieval and later cess pits and rubbish pits which have been cut into the Roman structure.

We are also beginning to dig out the robber trenches where Roman stonework has been removed (or 'robbed') for use elsewhere.

These trenches are useful, as they always follow and preserve the lines of the Roman walls. This is because of the way the stone robbers worked; they would dig down to find a wall, or use a part standing wall, and then follow it, removing all the stone down to the foundations and throwing back any broken stone or lumps of mortar that they did not want. If a wall is totally robbed, therefore, we can still know it's line, and thus the plan of the building.

One of the main questions we are anxious to answer is the date of the robbing of the amphitheatre. One area has given an indication. A cess pit which we emptied contained pottery and objects of the early part of the medieval period.

This was the last of the four pits dug after the side wall of one of the entrances to the amphitheatre was removed.

One of the finds was a bone comb. This beautiful object consists of a bone plate, which has narrow teeth on one side, and wider teeth on the other. The comb probably dates to the 10-12th century and might give a clue to the health of the user - nits have been found between the teeth of similar objects in the past!

Other medieval finds have included a bronze buckle and an iron key. We also have significant numbers of goat horns and leg bones, and also cow jaws and leg bones. These bones were often left attached to skins when they went to the tanners and may be tannery waste. The leather industry was very important in Chester from medieval times onward.

In the last week we have begun guided tours of the site. These leave from the Chester Visitor Centre on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 10am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm. They cost £4 per adult, £1.50 for children and £5 for families.

from the Chester Chronicle, published 6th August

posted by Archaeologists at 12:02



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi again, what does everyone do whilst its raining? :)

2:11 PM, August 10, 2004  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

When it gets too wet to work on the site the archaeologists can catch up on the other parts of their job. Mainly finds processing (washing and marking pottery etc) and tidying up their site records such as context sheets and single context plans.


Dan Garner (site oc-director)

11:39 AM, August 11, 2004  

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