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.
Today we discovered charred grains! This was especially exciting as we enjoyed a school visit from Sands School, who made Roman style bread at a workshop just before this year’s fieldwork commenced. The Sands pupils joined the team for the afternoon and helped with various fieldwork activities including excavation, sieving and finds washing. Two of the students visited us last year and described various excavation processes to the others; our potential archaeologists are keen to learn more and would like to return as volunteers when they are older. Thank you to all students and staff for today’s help- we hope to see you again in the future!
Today the team enjoyed better weather and were able to continue planning and excavating features in the sun. Eli’s trench yielded more large pottery finds. The team have also started wet sieving. This is a process which ensures that all soil is thoroughly checked for small fragments such as charcoal, bone, seeds and pottery. The wet sieving team have discovered charred grains, which us great news as we will be able to further analyse these in the lab (see previous ‘cereals’ and ‘breadmaking’ posts). Josh, who discovered the tiny grains whilst wet sieving was really pleased to have spotted them.
The Hub had a busy day, with visits from far and wide. We have almost reached our 200th visitor, so thank you to today’s interested visitors, and we look forward to meeting the 200th visitor tomorrow! At the end of the day we had a fun visit from Jo, Charlotte and Daniel, who came in to see the displays and activities. They added their own coin designs to our Roman coin inspired display. Come and design your own coin at the Hub!
Today the local Ipplepen Primary School had a school trip to the Hub and excavation, to find out more about archaeology and what really happens on site. The excited group from class 4 and class 5- a total of 63 pupils- spent the whole day on a school trip which was organised and led by Ipplepen Archaeological Project’s Danielle Wootton. The pupils visited the Hub in the morning and then spent the afternoon at the excavation. There were six educational activities, learning about archaeology and Roman life in engaging and relatable ways. Thanks to our intern Calyspso, and Maria and Judy at the Hub, and Jess, Kristin and the archaeology students on site- you were all stars! Also thanks and hello to teachers Miss Kedge and Mrs Clark and the teaching assistants and parents who were all so enthusiastic and helped to make the day a real success.
The first activity was the ‘Potato Game’, where students practised their observation and description skills essential to fieldwork by analysing and describing a potato. Their teachers then guessed which description matched each potato, and thanks to the good recording skills, every guess was correct! Next was an activity based on the first ever finds at Ipplepen; Roman coins. The children looked at replica Roman coins and then designed their own coins, which you can look at in the Hub. The third activity was based on the Iron Age round house evidence found previously on site. Classes 4 and 5 learnt about how round houses are built then they drew their own interpretation of what the site would have looked like.
Next they were off to the site to make use of their new skills. After a packed lunch, the students had a tour of the site, and then tried their hand at field archaeology. The students started by using a planning frame and a compass to make scaled drawing plans incorporating maths, geography, and their great recording and observation skills they showed us in the ‘Potato Game’! Afterwards, students tried washing pottery sherds with a toothbrush in a washing up bowl and had the opportunity to learn about different types of pottery. One of class 4 and 5’s favourite activities of the day was sieving the spoil heap to look for pottery in the topsoil taken off by machinery. The students were keen to have a go at this activity after a fantastic talk by local volunteer Judy Dewhirst, who told them about her experiences on the dig in previous excavations. Many thanks to Judy for coming in to the Hub to talk to the children, who were inspired by her talk!
It was an action-packed day for the students, who really enjoyed learning more about what life in their village would have been like in the past, as well as how archaeology lets us understand it in the present. Some favourite moments of theirs were the ‘Potato Game’ and sieving. Some students from class 4 even decided they would like to be archaeologists when they are older! Many thanks go out to the young archaeologists of Ipplepen Primary School, and to the invaluable teachers and helpers. Thanks also to the team on site who helped with the day, and to Danielle Wootton for putting the whole experience together!
The team have continued to plan, draw and excavate various ditches, post-holes and other interesting features, which has been very rewarding. A lot of progress has been made despite the intermittent rain, and some of the team were reluctant to put down their tools for the day. Jay uncovered many interesting pottery finds, including his “best find yet”, this large fragment of beautifully decorated pottery. Eli also had a great find after excavating all day, discovering large fragments of late prehistoric pottery and burnt material. He said he was very fortunate and that “it is always a treat when you find something like that, it makes it all worthwhile.” Their finds will now be carefully washed, dried and labelled, a key process which the team have been working hard at.
The Hub had a busy day today, with visitors from further afield who had seen the site on BBC’s Digging For Britain a while ago and came to hear updates. Our display case is quickly filling up with new discoveries. Tuesday’s additions are beautiful and international fragments of decorated Samian Ware, and a handle fragment of an amphora, probably from continental Europe. Visit us soon to see these amazing finds!