Today has been a super Sunday with many great finds coming up. In addition to the usual cornucopia of pottery, we found two beads, one green and one blue, found by 1st Yr. student Kayleigh, and by 2nd Yr. student Kate. The site is unprecedented in the South-West for the amount of pottery (particularly Roman) which is being found. As such it was fitting that today saw our 300th small find recorded, and you’ve guessed it, it was a piece of pottery!
As work continues on the road its character is really starting to come through; pot holes and wheel ruts are clearly visible (student Greg thinks he will find some double yellow lines soon). Now that we are finishing clearing back the plough soil, John presented a talk to everyone this morning about stratigraphy and matrices. The law of superposition was explained, which means that when excavating, if a layer (or fill) is above another, then that means it is assumed to be earlier. John also explained how the road would have been built, and multiple layers built up on it, with the roadside ditches slowly being filled with and cleaned of silt, but when the road went out of use the ditches filled up with silt, creating another layer. After many years a topsoil developed over this road, which in turn was ploughed in the 19th c., the land stopped being used for crops, and is now pasture. This means that there is a layer of ploughsoil where finds are found from the layer below, because they have been churned up by the plough.
Head over to our Facebook page to see Kate and Kayleigh with their beads.
The last two days of the week have been just as successful as the rest. Work has continued on cleaning back the site, and wet sieving was set up too. Whilst this happened students and volunteers began cleaning and drying the pottery finds. Two of the nicer pot sherds were a piece of decorated Samian ware, and some German stoneware, which has a lovely blue glaze.
With so much pottery being found the finds were almost constantly being 3D located, with wrists tiring at all the entries going into the finds register! George Flower, one of the University students had a particularly fun time doing this.
Over at the Hub we had a multitude of interested folk visiting us on Thursday, 40 in total. On Friday Bill Horner, the County Archaeologist, dropped by with some displays explaining the history of the site, and interesting finds across Devon, which help to explain the work that Devon County Council and the Historic Environment Records do.
That’s it for the first week, we hope that you have enjoyed learning about what we have been up to as much as much as we have doing it!
The good work continued on Day 2, with the cleaning back of the site continuing. Imogen Wood gave us all a talk on the pottery of the area; Neolithic, Iron Age, Romano-British, and Roman imports too (which was a good thing, since we have had a fair bit of pottery coming through)!
Tuesday also saw BBC Radio Devon visiting the site, the interview will be aired near the end of the week, but we shall keep you updated on that one!
Over at The Hub we managed to set up a monitor in order to display slideshows of last year’s site photos. We can also show people the PAS website and how to navigate it.
Jim also paid a visit to the site, wearing a very fetching vest which his daughter had made for him, depicting some of the many finds that he has discovered over the years.
Day 3 saw pottery being laid to dry before washing and displays on Roman roads being sorted for show at The Hub. Whilst one of our interns Jess began digitising records and one of our student volunteers Chris sorted out some geophysical imaging.
With just over a week to go until excavations start up again at Ipplepen, I have been looking into when the site was first discovered in 2011, and found the below BBC article covering the discovery. Preparations for the 2014 season are well underway now, so you can expect more posts in the coming weeks! Hope that you are all as excited for this season’s excavations as we are!