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Chester Amphitheatre Project Blog


Welcome to the official Blog of the Chester Amphitheatre Project.

Friday, July 7

Latest news from the trench ...

Most of our efforts for this week have been concentrated on finishing off the excavation of the construction trenches for the timber beams (the grillage) which supported the timber staging for the seating in amphitheatre 1a. We will then be moving on to the removal of the remaining deposits that survive against the 'concentric wall' associated with the seating bank to amphitheatre 1. There are very few artefacts coming up at the moment. The only productive part of the site (in terms of artefacts) is in the south-western corner of area A where we think we are starting to uncover a large Roman cess-pit. A series of soil layers that appear to have slumped in to the top of this pit have produced the usual gamut of Roman finds including grey ware, orange ware and samian ware pottery; also a diverse range of animal bone including some very small bird bones and a piece of deer antler that has been sawn in several places. Hopefully, we will get a lot more from this area over the next week or so ...

So watch this space

PS IT are still trying to find out the cause for the breakdown in transmission from the Webcam, sorry for any disappointment this is obviously causing

posted by Cheryl Quinn at 14:13



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for that! The cess-pit is interesting - do you think it is associated with the amphitheatre? Did they have "public conveniences" for all those spectators? But if so, why the pottery and worked antler?

And are the remains of the timber grillage being removed, or left in situ?

5:49 PM, July 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are any of the finds from earlier years on public display in a museum?

10:15 PM, July 08, 2006  
Blogger Cheryl Quinn said...

The dating evidence from the upper fills of the cess-pit would suggest that it is contemporary with the use of amphitheatre 1/1a, although it is definitely early in the stratigraphic sequence and was filled-in before the Roman road surface around the outside of the amphitheatre was laid. The pottery, bone and worked antler appear to represent a dump of rubbish in the top of the pit - perhaps hinting at activities going-on just outside the amphitheatre at the time of its back-filling. Either it represents a short lived latrine for one of the construction gangs building the amphitheatre or it is indeed a 'spectators convenience' - we'll hopefully be able to say more when we finish excavating it.

Most of the remains of the timber grillage were removed last summer - although it is important to understand that no actual timber survived, merely the dark humic soil 'ghosts' of where the timbers had rotted in situ. We are currently finishing this task in order to get at the prehistoric archaeology which still lies beneath.

1:46 PM, July 10, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent picture! And thank you for the information. I'd never thought about amphitheatres needing loos - but of course they would, with such a big audience, the gory entertainment and the fast food vendors!
I know no actual wood had survived, but I thought there were some mineralised remains which were pretty solid, showing the details of the joints and with nails in situ, and not just different coloured soil deposits. I admit I haven't checked back through past newsletters and blog posts though.

4:41 PM, July 10, 2006  
Blogger Cheryl Quinn said...

In answer to the question about "finds from earlier years on public display in a museum?" ...

At present there are two finds on display from the amphitheatre in the Grosvenor Museum:

1. Nemesis altar (1966 excavation) in the Webster Gallery

2. Trumpet fibulae brooch (1961 excavation)in the 'External Buildings' case in the Newstead Gallery.

And ...

A significant number will be on display for the amphitheatre conference ...

So watch this space for further details.

11:44 AM, July 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't know about an amphitheatre conference! When and where is it to be, and will I be able to attend? I am a bona fide Roman archaeologist, although not an amphitheatre specialist.

7:09 PM, July 12, 2006  
Blogger Cheryl Quinn said...

Yes, of course you will be able to attend. Details are still being finalised. But as soon as we know we will post them on the web.

10:33 AM, July 13, 2006  

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