First week at Birdoswald

It’s Day 7 at Birdoswald excavations for me! I was supposed to be here earlier but ended up having to self-isolate as my daughter’s nursery bubble had a positive covid case. How funny that has become such a standard part of life. It was a little frustrating watching all the news and photos from the dig being posted online whilst being stuck at home, but I am so happy to have finally got here! I am especially grateful to the wonderful B&B where I am staying, Bush Nook , who very kindly let me alter my dates at the last minute and have been wonderful hosts. Fancy bacon sarnies and coffee for breakfast, and a nice hot power shower – what more could an archaeologist want from fieldwork accommodation? I was perhaps a little ambitious in my plans to cycle to site every day. Although it is only 2 miles away, the route it turns out has two rather steep sets of stairs and hill, so I abandoned the bike and took to a leisurely stroll each morning. It is absolute bliss after being stuck wor

First Day at the new Birdoswald Excavations

Today was my first day on site at Birdoswald, a Roman fort and English Heritage site on Hadrian's Wall, where Newcastle University and Historic England are conducting a new excavation project that will run for the next few years. It feels like forever since I have been out on an excavation.  (Side note - in fact, this is the second time I've been out 'in the field' this year. The first was a site walkover at Carvoran just down the road from Birdoswald. I somehow have found myself involved in all these amazing sites along Hadrian's Wall...) Today reminded me of all the reasons why I became an archaeologist. The excitement of travelling somewhere new. Funnily, this is actually the closest excavation to home I have ever been involved in, but waiting at the train station and the journey to site had that same feeling of anticipation I have experienced working half way across the world. Watching through the window, clutching a takeaway coffee that provides the familiarit

Environmental Archaeology at Birdoswald Roman Fort

Some very exciting news, I'll be overseeing the environmental work for a new 5 year excavation project at Birdoswald Roman Fort , a collaboration between Newcastle University and Historic England, co-directed by Tony Wilmott and Prof. Ian Haynes . Birdoswald is a Roman Fort on Hadrian's Wall, and sits on the longest remaining section of the Wall that is still standing. There's loads of great information on the history of the site on the  English Heritage website here . The excavations will be used as a field school to train Newcastle University archaeology students, as well as being a research project. The environmental work will largely follow the Historic England guidelines which can be found here . I will be overseeing the running of the flotation tank, with a team of postgraduate students and our technicians, and also advising on any additional soil sampling for geochemistry, micromorphology etc as the excavations progress. We are lucky enough to have access to a large