Take a spin around a 3D Model of the Vicarage Fields site created following the excavations in May. You can see the well trench on the far left which we will be excavating again this week.
Woodland management on site will be led by the following agreed objectives, within the woodland compartments defined by the Woodland Management Plan.
- Maintain woodland cover as an integral component of a mosaic of diverse habitats and land-use zones;
- Manage trees and woodlands in sympathy with the archaeological, heritage, cultural and landscape value of the site
Woodland management to be sympathetic to creation and maintenance of safe and attractive footpaths and cycles routes;
- Views and vistas to shape management policies and practices
- Increase woodland biodiversity;
- Maximise engagement and involvement of local communities and volunteers to engage more people with woodland management activities.
We are currently preparing a programme of tree work for winter 2016/17 with geographical focus on the Quay and the cycle lane. We have held a site meeting with residents and interested parties and are now consulting with the Tree Protection Officer and Planning and Regeneration before finalising proposals. Notices will go up shortly on site to inform the public about the planned work (to be carried out in November/ December; funded from the Coastal Communities budget).
WELL WELL WELL ….
In May 2016, our new theory about the location of Lancaster’s Late Roman Shore Fort was proved when excavations on Castle Hill, just below the Priory, revealed the corner of the fort along with road surfaces, a drain and, surprisingly, a stone-lined well set within the thickness of the 4m-wide walls.
The depth of the well is not yet known. The deeper it and the excavation goes, the more complicated and expensive the work, but the higher the chances for really interesting finds and environmental information that will help paint a fuller picture of life in Lancaster in late Roman and perhaps medieval and later times. A late Victorian OS map shows the spot marked with a pump, but we don’t yet know when it fell into disuse.
So far, only the top 1.5m of modern infill has been excavated. The real archaeology lies much lower down and at the bottom, and could be still waterlogged so that organic objects made of wood and leather may be preserved. What might we find?
WELL …if we are lucky, perhaps a bucket and rope, shoes or clothing, wooden writing tablets, votive offerings? And of course a wealth of archaeo-environmental material such as animal bones, insect remains, seeds, leaves, pollen, etc. All good stuff…..
In a tight spot
So now BTC needs to raise the necessary funds to excavate the well. The first job is to get a better idea of how deep it is and what the depth of archaeological material is likely to be.
The team hope to be able to get a handle on all this via a small bore hole. Excavating within a confined space, and at depth, is logistically a great deal more complicated than excavating in open ground. In order to ensure the Health and Safety of those working down the well, and maintenance of the well’s structural integrity, specialist engineering input will be necessary at every stage from design (legislation, methodology) to shoring, access, lighting, communications, removal of spoil, etc. Also, conservation can be very costly, particularly with organic material where treatment needs to start as soon as it comes out of the ground. There is no time to lose!
We need your help!
We expect the overall fundraising target to be in the region of £15,000 to cover the costs of the excavation, engineering works, post excavation and preliminary conservation of delicate finds. You can donate to the project on this page: SUPPORT THE PROJECT HERE
The first big milestone is to raise £5,000 by the 1st December 2016. The BTC team will be grateful for ANY contributions, including monetary or in-kind such as loan of equipment, technology and engineering/design, laboratory services etc.
This will allow us to establish the depth of the well via a bore hole, secure specialist structural engineering support to develop the methodology for the excavation or the well itself, and archaeologically excavate the area surrounding the well to a depth of about 1m.
This is the essential first step in establishing the relationship between the well and the Late Roman Shore Fort.
What happens after I buy a benefit?
You will receive an email from the Beyond the Castle teamacknowledging your contribution and we will confirm your incentive with you. We will post benefits following the end of the campaign, but those of you who will be joining us on site will receive your items when you arrive.
How do I get in touch with the Lancaster’s Roman Past team?
We’re here for you! All emails sent to Lucia.Marquart@lancashire.gov.uk at Lancashire County Council will be read and replied to. We’re also on Facebook and Twitter @squareroutesBTC. Our mobile number is 07887 831154.
Terms and Conditions: Because this project is crowdfunded, your campaign support is non-refundable. All funding and contributions generated via this campaign will go towards archaeological investigation within the Scheduled Ancient Monument, Castle Hill. We are pleased to confirm that Lancaster Priory Church will act as accountable body for this crowdfunding campaign.
Where can I find out more about the project?
You can support the project by donating on this page: SUPPORT THE PROJECT HERE
Earlier in the year Jason Wood, Heritage Consultant for the Beyond the Castle project was preparing for the dig by interrogating the topographic and geophysical survey results. This is the first in a series of videos where Jason explains the extensive work that took place before a trowel or mattock came in contact with the trench.
We have prepared for you a mini exhibition to let you know about the wider context of the excavations currently taking place. You can see a mini version of it here and it will be available to anyone visiting the dig over the coming week or so. We hope to move the exhibition to other venues post dig and would really appreciate your feedback so we can improve it as we discover more.
Twelve days of archaeological excavation on Lancaster’s Castle Hill will seek to uncover more about the city’s Roman past.
This new excavation will partly re-open earlier trenches dug in the late 1920s and early 1970s, but also investigate undisturbed ground to test emerging theories relating to Lancaster’s Late Roman Shore Fort. The Shore Fort was one of a succession of Roman Forts, dating from the first to fourth centuries, which occupied Lancaster’s Castle Hill.
Only limited excavations have taken place and very little is known about the nature of the Roman and later remains. Vicarage Fields to the west of Vicarage Lane displays a well-preserved but confusing set of earthworks. Some are very likely to …be Roman; others appear to be later.
The dig will partly re-excavate the 1929 and 1971 trenches to aid understanding of earlier research, and then extend these to the west and north.
Jason Wood, Excavation Director and Heritage Consultant to the Beyond the Castle project said: “The dig represents an important opportunity to test our theories relating to the location of Lancaster’s Late Roman Shore Fort. Hopefully it will enable us to consolidate our understanding of the site and what this might tell us about the nature and character of Lancaster in Roman times.”
The dig is led by the Beyond the Castle project, which has received support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and is led by Lancaster City Council and Lancashire County Council.
The trenches will be hand-excavated by a combination of volunteers and experienced archaeologists under the direction of a Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists. The public will be encouraged to visit and watch the excavation, engage with archaeologists and the team of volunteers, and assist with finds processing.
A new emerging narrative for Roman Lancaster reinterprets accepted opinion and will invite challenge and further questions. Join the debate and have your say at a pop-up exhibition displayed on the site during the excavation.
We will set up at 8.30 ready for a 9am start and will conclude the day at 5 pm with a review for all volunteers (the public will be invited to listen in); weather and stamina permitting some of the excavation work might continue into the early evening.
How you can get involved:
Dig with us:
Many hands make light work. Please get in touch if you want to help out on the excavation (previous experience not required, 18+)
Come and visit:
Watch the excavation, view our pop up exhibition and talk to our volunteers
To get involved please contact Lucia Marquart (Site Supervisor and named organiser): Lucia.Marquart@lancashire.gov.uk, 07887 831154
For information please contact the Excavation Director, Jason Wood firstname.lastname@example.org 07763 475442.
A lot has changed on the site over the past few months. Two teams of workers from Preston United and Furniture Matters have been working on site alongside David Redmore to improve the area by primarily clearing self seeded trees that are damaging the sensitive archaeology. The hedge along Vicarage Lane has been laid by a team of volunteers and various new plants have been added to creative a more wildlife friendly environment whilst filling the gaps in the hedge.