Field School 2008

The 29th April saw the Department of Archaeology's Field School begin in Field 8 at Heslington East. Teams of students began surveying the field using magnetic, resistance and auger survey. This period of low invasive survey will continued until the 6th of May when preparation of the ground for an open area excavation began. The resistance survey was particularly successful in identifying a rectangular feature 30m west of the Roman masonry building (previously evaluated by York Archaeological Trust) which will form part of the focus for the excavation. The survey also highlighted a large ditch type of feature with associated pits which was 25m north of the masonry building. The auger survey was less sucessful due to the situation on the moraine which leads to very stony/gravelly deposits which are virtually impossible to pass the Dutch auger through.

Sunny May days see excavation work start on site in three areas; the rectanguar feature to the west of the masonry building, the building and the area around it and a series of pits and ditches to the north.

This small Roman masonry building was excavated by the students and had an underfloor heating system (hypocaust) and a cement floor (opus signinum). Running downslope ( in right of picture) are a series of cobble foundations forming a colonnade

This rectangular cobbled foundation was found approximately 35m to the west of the Roman masonry building.       With  very little material found on excavation we are still unsure what this feature might be; look out tower, store room, mausoleum, temple ?!

With the help of metal detectorists we found some identifiable Roman coins, mainly from the third and fourth centuries AD

Large quantities of Roman pottery was found on the site and included imported ware, such as amphora...

...locally produced Ebor Red Painted ware...

...and mortaria like this piece of Crambeck ware, produced near Malton.

The students get a site update from Pat, one of the supervisory staff

A human burial was found a few metres to the west of the masonry building and was radicarbon dated to the fourth century AD. This 26-35 year old male died from tuberculosis of the spine and pelvis and appears to be the earliest recorded case of TB from northern England.

Looking south towards the area that York Archaeological Trust have been working on - the sandy areas in the distance will be the location of college buildings when the new campus is built

Fieldwalking finds included this barbed and tanged arrowhead from the Bronze Age....

...and also flint blades and cores like this one.

A wide range of features including ditches, pits and slots were hand excavated and sampled

A site open day in May 2008 was attended by 180 people from Heslington and the York area

and then during September a group of community volunteers helped us to excavate an area south of the masonry building

We found evidence of a spring head and a series of large post holes

We also found three stone concentrations which appear to be post hole packing material and these include limestone fragments; limestone is also used to build the Roman masonry building and is not locally available.

Subpages (1): Photographs 2008