Today was quite a warm day, with excavation and Open Day preparation keeping the team very busy. The team also did a lot of residue sorting- a lot of patience is required for this task as we painstakingly go through samples to find tiny charred grains of cereal. Thanks to the interested visitors who had seen our excavation on BBC Spotlight last night and wanted to see more of the intriguing finds we are uncovering.
Thursday was another good day for excavation, pictured here is the complete pot that Enfys and Danielle excavated, we can’t wait to analyse the content and get a proper look at it once experts have had the chance to look at it. We were also overjoyed to welcome back Katy to the site, who has been involved in the project since the very start. Jim, one of the site’s discoverers also visited the site. It was wonderful to welcome them both.
In the evening, students gathered for a guided walk from Bill Horner, Devon County Archaeologist, and John, the ranger, who gave interesting talks on Denbury and it’s context within the wider landscape. The Iron Age hillfort is inter-visible with Ipplepen, so it was great to hear more about the site.
Today we were happy to have Dr Lukas Holata on site, a research fellow in the University of Exeter’s archaeology department. While the team set down tools and took their lunch break, Lukas got to work taking over 700 images in order to create a 3D image of the site. We’re looking forward to seeing the results!
In other news, the ditch with the quern stone find has been fully excavated by Jon and friends. Today Thea and Stewart were busy planning and drawing it, here is a picture of Thea in the fully excavated pit.
Another interesting feature that has been excavated is this possible well that Enfys and Jerry have been excavating.
More of the team have been washing finds today, and it has been good weather for drying them. Some really interesting pottery sherds are being processed, and you can see some beautiful examples of these in the Hub until Thursday afternoon. Come and visit them soon, as it will be the last chance for the year. We have some spectacular pieces in the display cabinet!
Good Morning, we’re looking forward to seeing everyone today at our Open Day from 10:30am to 3:30pm! We hope you have a good time and enjoy the day.
Our student Alicia is doing her dissertation on public engagement and archaeological sites. We’d be grateful if people could complete this quick online survey about the day, we would really appreciate your feedback. Many thanks in advance.
This Saturday 25th June we will be welcoming the public once again for our annual Open Day! Come along for a fun-filled day of archaeology and activities. There is something for every age and lots to do and learn for the whole family.
From 10:30 am to 3:30 pm, we have lots of fun and interesting things to see and do, including:
- Guided tours of the excavation
- Ipplepen Carnival Club tea tent
- The chance to see our finds from this year’s excavation in the finds tent
- The British Museum and Portable Antiquities Scheme’s Dr. Sam Moorhead, Roman Coin expert
- County Archaeologist Bill Horner
- Aisling Tuohy on horses in the Iron Age
- and back again this year by popular demand is the hand-made Egyptian food!
And bringing the archaeology to life in our ‘Living section, we have three amazing re-enactor groups!
- The Vicus (Roman)
- Isca Romans (Roman)
- Dumnonika (Iron Age)
Come and experience what life would have been like in Ipplepen during the Iron Age and Roman periods with us. You can also get hands-on with history by learning how to make your own clay pots with supervisor Mandy and Exeter University student Reyhanne.
We have marquees for all weather shelter and a tea tent, refreshments and outdoor toilets. The site will be signposted on the day from the pertrol garage on the A381 (Newton Abbot to Totnes road)- please follow the green signs. It promises to be a great day for all! We look forward to welcoming you on site and showing you around!
If you are unavailable on Saturday, you can come along to our Information Hub at Ipplepen Methodist Church, Monday to Friday 9:30 am – 4:15 pm until June 30th.
Keep following for more updates, we look forward to seeing you soon!
What a day! You may have seen a lot of articles today about our excavation and finds, and what it all means for Roman Britain. Here is a well written article from the Guardian. Have a look at our Facebook page and Twitter for more! We also welcomed some pottery experts on site today to analyse our wealth of pottery finds. Here are some pictures of the type of finds they have been analysing.
In other news, Jon (who has travelled all the way from America to excavate on our site!) and our University of Exeter students have made great progress on excavating the quern stones in the fifth layer of fill in a ditch. The quern stone now appears to be broken. The trench has yielded not only fragments of pottery, but also bone and charcoal, which can both be radiocarbon dated. Jon says “It’s brilliant to find something this large, we haven’t really found any other artefacts this size on the site.” We wish him and the team the best of luck with the rest of the excavation.
It was a busy day on site today, with journalists visiting the excavation. Pictured are students washing pottery finds being filmed by ITV News West Country. We are now certain we have an Iron Age ring ditch which most likely once had a roundhouse in the middle of it! The ditch would have acted as a drain around the outside of the house to help to soak away water from the house when it rained. As you can see in these pictures, the circular ring ditch is very large- marked out in yellow buckets. There is one main entrance between two termini, and two smaller gaps. Interestingly, there is evidence for a second similar sized round house inter-cutting the first, rebuilt very close to the original house. Pottery analysis found in both contexts will be analysed this week. We do not have great evidence for the different sections within the house due to later ploughing. However, this find is hugely significant as it shows us how, where and when people were living in Ipplepen. Come along to our Open Day this Saturday to see it for yourself!
Poor weather halted excavation this morning, and the team came down to the Hub to carry out necessary work offsite. The team want to say a big thank you to Ipplepen Community Hub’s Maria and Joyce for being so welcoming and helpful, providing shelter and warm drinks for the whole team and opening up the Café especially for them. The students got to work, completing context sheets and plans and going over their work. Lowenna and Mandy also gave the students a practical lesson on how to analyse pottery. They had a productive and varied morning, and happily set off to site after lunch in the sunshine.
The productivity carried on well into the afternoon, with more exciting developments on site. Jonathan has been excavating a ditch for many days, and has uncovered an incredible find; two quern stones (for grinding cereal grains into flour to make bread). The ditch was cut beautifully and well excavated, and we have yet to reach the bottom. Well done Jon for a great find, finding quern stones on this site has a special significance as we are also finding lots of charred grains such as wheat, oats and barley. So quern stones like these provide us with the bigger picture of food production. Well done to the team for a productive day.
Sunday brought more rain and plenty more finds. The rain can make some features more visible, which helps us to see the bigger picture of the site and its features. The team have continued excavating and sectioning these features, and are reaching the bottom of some ditches and gulleys. After excavating these, there are lots of interesting and sometimes fragile sherds of pottery to be washed, dried and labelled. One of these can be seen above in situ. It is thought to be the body of an amphora, which is an incredible find, as so far the team have uncovered amphora handles, so it is great to have such a good example of the rest of this beautiful pottery on site. Here is a picture of the team planning the area before they can excavate it. Planning is a vital part of excavation – in the picture you can see a planning frame, which is used to plan the trench and features, so every stone and find is plotted and drawn to scale. Well done to Thea, an archaeology student who worked hard with Vicky and Danielle to plan and excavate this great find. She was excited to excavate such an interesting find, “I think it’s really amazing that we get to see something that was used thousands of years ago!”
Today on the excavation the team worked hard excavating the features and working their way through the spoil heaps. The team enjoyed Professor Rippon and Dr Davey’s end-of-week summary and site tour, which provided a good overview of the site. By the end of the first week, the team had cleaned up the trenches and could see lots of features. This week they spent a lot of time planning, then excavating sections across features including post holes, and both linear and curvilinear ditches. They have been drawing, photographing and planning these features and creating context sheets for the features and finds. A lot of work happens outside of the trench, washing and processing finds, and interpreting the pottery, features and site. We are looking forward to the upcoming week, where we hope to start interpreting the features to understand this area of the site (please keep following for updates..).
Many thanks to Mary, Hilary, Dalton and Andrew, this week’s enthusiastic volunteers, who wanted to stay longer! Dalton said “I wish, I could stay longer.” Andrew also wanted to continue excavating, saying “when I start something, I want to finish it!” Thanks for all of your hard work, and we hope you can join us again soon.
We had some more keen local visitors, and some from further afield who had seen the site on BBC2’s Digging for Britain. Visitors enjoyed taking a closer look at our handling collection and finds. Thanks to the great after-school group from Ipplepen Primary School for coming in and getting involved with our Roman inspired activities. We will be back in the Hub on Monday, but you can keep up to date with the site in the meantime on this blog.