Sep
21

BBC News: Chirk Castle dig tries to unearth origins of Offa’s Dyke

BBC News reports on a collaboration between to the Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust and the National Trust to investigate the origins of Offa’s Dyke.

BBC News

Sep
20

BBC News: Hot weather reveals hidden history to archaeologists

The BBC reports on how the hot summer has been a benefit to archaeologists.

BBC News

Sep
07

Norton Priory Conference. 6 October 2018

Norton Priory third bi-annual conference with the latest research into the site and its collections. For more information and booking details visit the Norton Priory website

Link to Norton Priory website

Jul
16

Free Archaeology Volunteer Taster Session (booking essential)

Are you interested in the archaeology of Chester? Would you like some hands-on archaeology experience but don’t have time to volunteer during the week?

On Saturday 4 August 2018 12 noon – 4pm the Grosvenor Museum will be running a finds washing session in the Grosvenor Park Activity Zone. We will be washing finds from the HQ site in Chester where excavations uncovered the remains of Roman buildings, a medieval nunnery and an early post-medieval house.

No experience necessary there will be trained archaeologists to tell you what to do. Please bring rubber gloves and an apron or wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. You must be over 16 to take part.

To book a place and for further information go to: www.ticketsource.co.uk/westcheshiremuseums

 

Jul
16

Volunteering Opportunities August 2018

The Grosvenor Museum is starting a new project on Friday 3 August 2018 which aims to bring a large archaeology project archive up to a condition that meets museum deposition and Historic England’s accessible archive standards.

The first stage of the project consists of a programme of finds processing and we will be based in the Pavilion in the Grosvenor Park Activity Zone where we will be washing, sorting and re-boxing finds from the 2007 excavations at the HQ building in Chester. These significant excavations uncovered the remains of Roman buildings, a  medieval nunnery and a 16th/17th century house and produced a rich and plentiful finds assemblage.

The finds we will be washing will be largely Roman and later building materials e.g. roof tiles, floor tiles and bricks and animal bone and also some pottery.   We will be sorting and boxing these and other finds from the site by material and period and carrying out basic documentation.

We would very much welcome volunteer help in this very interesting but large project and will be running sessions on the following dates (we will be in the Pavilion from 9.30 in the morning and 1.30 in the afternoon):

Friday 3 August  9.30am and 1.30pm

Monday 6 August  9.30am and 1.30pm

Tuesday 7 August 9.30am and 1.30pm

Wednesday  8 August 9.30am and 1.30pm

Thursday 9 August 1.30pm

Friday  10 August 9.30am and 1.30pm

Wednesday 15 August 9.30am and 1.30pm

Thursday 16 August  1.30pm

Friday 17 August 9.30am and 1.30pm

Monday 20 August 9.30am and 1.30pm

Tuesday 21 August 9.30am and 1.30pm

Wednesday 22 August 9.30am and 1.30pm

Thursday 23 August  1.30pm

Friday 24 August 9.30am and 1.30pm

There is a good assemblage of animal bone from the site and we are arranging for a specialist to run a workshop on identifying animal bones during the afternoon of Wednesday 8 August. In order to be eligible to attend the workshop you must first attend the washing session in the morning or a session on one of the preceding days.

If you would like to come and help please email julie.edwards@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk with the dates and times you are able to attend.

Map and travel information:

https://www.grosvenorparkchester.co.uk/plan-your-visit/entrances/

Plan of Park and location of Activity Zone

https://www.grosvenorparkchester.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/1200-parkmap.png

 

 

May
25

OPEN AFTERNOON 2018: The Secrets of Grosvenor Park Unlocked

Archaeologists from Cheshire West and Chester Council Cultural Service (Grosvenor Museum) in partnership with the University of Chester, returned to Grosvenor Park, Chester to run their annual training dig for second year students, an essential part of their archaeology degree course.

An OPEN AFTERNOON will be taking place on May 29 between 1:30 – 4:30pm giving you the last chance this year to see what the students have uncovered, study the objects they have found and learn more about the history of this corner of Chester, and it’s FREE!

So far the students have uncovered, amongst other things, a Roman road that led to the east entrance of the amphitheatre and a large building destroyed during the Civil War. The building appears to have been a part of the medieval hospital and chapel of St. Anne which was acquired by Sir Hugh Cholmondeley in the late 16th century and developed as part of his mansion house.

Lisa Harris, Director of Place Strategy, Cheshire West and Chester Council, said:  “Our previous digs have always attracted a lot of attention. These digs not only provide essential practical experience for students working alongside our archaeologists but have been a talking point for the many visitors to the park. There is always an opportunity to watch the activities and get an update on what’s been discovered. This is part of our commitment to invest in inclusive leisure and culture making west Cheshire a great place to live and visit. Please follow the blog, watch the ongoing dig and make a date in your diary for the open day.”

Dr Caroline Pudney, Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Chester (who recently appeared in the Channel 4 programme, Britain’s Most Historic Towns, praising the Roman history of Chester), said: “We are so lucky to have such a major archaeological site on our doorstep, and for our students to have the opportunity to contribute to our knowledge of the city’s past. Chester’s Roman history has had its public profile raised recently, as it was the focal point of the Channel 4 programme, presented by Professor Alice Roberts. She was so impressed by our amphitheatre that she referred to it as her favourite site (www.channel4.com/info/press/news/interview-with-prof-alice-roberts-for-britains-most-historic-towns)  Additionally, the varied nature of Chester’s post-Roman past provides a wide range of historic remains and therefore a unique environment for discovery that helps to inspire our students to further their archaeological experience.”

The last day of the dig is Wednesday 30 May and it will close at 4:30pm.

Student’s Dig Blog: http://univchester-parkdig.blogspot.co.uk/
CWAC Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cheshirewest/albums/72157669003991148

May
18

The Chester Heritage Festival and Chester Archaeological Society Conference

The Chester Archaeological Society Conference will be held at the Grosvenor Museum on the 29th and 30th June 2018. For more information about this event visit the Chester Archaeological Society website.

Chester Heritage Festival will run from 22nd to 30th June. It will feature walks, talks, films, exhibitions, workshops and special activities for young people which bring Chester and its heritage to life.

The festival is being co-ordinated by Chester Civic Trust and Cheshire West and Chester Council in close partnership with many other groups such as the Guild of Tour Guides, Roman Tours, St John’s Church, Chester Race Company, the Grosvenor Museum, Storyhouse and local libraries. Over 60 events will take place around the clock, across the city and beyond.

Visit www.visitcheshire.com/chesterheritagefestival or look out for leaflets around the city and in libraries throughout Cheshire West when the festival programme is published in May.

Apr
25

Archaeology students uncover the secrets of Chester’s Grosvenor Park

Archaeologists from Cheshire West and Chester Council will be returning to Grosvenor Park, Chester to run their annual training dig for second-year archaeology students from the University of Chester.

Why are they digging in the park? StudentMontageWeb

Grosvenor Park sits next to two important historical monuments, the Roman amphitheatre and the medieval church of St John the Baptist.  Both of these have had an influence on the development of the park and, more importantly, on what lies beneath.  For example, written records tell us that Cholmondeley’s Mansion and buildings belonging to St John’s Church were located in the park but how much remains and what did these buildings look like? Chester’s Roman fortress, which lay to the west, would have been surrounded by a civil settlement. Does any of that survive?

So far the students have uncovered a Roman road, a large building destroyed during the Civil War and a wide ditch running north-south across the park. The building appears to have been related to St John’s Church, probably part of the medieval hospital and chapel of St Anne, which was acquired by Sir Hugh Cholmondeley in the late 16th century and developed as part of his mansion. This season they hope to discover more about the layout of the medieval building and its post-medieval successor and to find further evidence for the civil settlement outside the Roman fortress.

Lisa Harris, Director of Place Strategy, Cheshire West and Chester Council, said:  “Our previous digs have always attracted a lot of attention. These digs not only provide essential practical experience for students working alongside our archaeologists but have been a talking point for the many visitors to the park. There is always an opportunity to watch the activities and get an update on what’s been discovered. This is part of our commitment to invest in inclusive leisure and culture making west Cheshire a great place to live and visit. Please follow the blog, watch the ongoing dig and make a date in your diary for the open day.”

The training dig is a partnership project between archaeologists from Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Cultural Service (Grosvenor Museum) and the University of Chester and is an essential part of the students’ archaeology degree course. Dr Caroline Pudney, lecturer in archaeology at the University of Chester (who recently appeared in the Channel 4 programme, Britain’s Most Historic Towns, praising the Roman history of Chester), said: “We are so lucky to have such a major archaeological site on our doorstep, and for our students to have the opportunity to contribute to our knowledge of the city’s past. Chester’s Roman history has had its public profile raised recently, as it was the focal point of the Channel 4 programme, presented by Professor Alice Roberts. She was so impressed by our amphitheatre that she referred to it as her favourite site . Additionally, the varied nature of Chester’s post-Roman past provides a wide range of historic remains and therefore a unique environment for discovery that helps to inspire our students to further their archaeological experience.”

The training dig will be open for viewing by the public from May 3rd to May 30th, 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday (except between 12.30pm – 1.30pm daily and all day on Bank Holiday Mondays). An Open Day will be taking place on the afternoon of May 29th (1.30 – 4.30pm), giving members of the public the chance to see first-hand what the students have uncovered and learn more about the history of this corner of Chester. Further information and updates will be available on the students’ Dig Blog during the excavation.

 

Mar
20

The Roman Amphitheatre of Chester Volume 1: The Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology

Tony Wilmott and Dan Garner with Councillor Louise Gittins

Tony Wilmott and Dan Garner with Councillor Louise Gittins

Archaeologists undertook a major excavation of Chester’s Roman amphitheatre from 2004 to 2006. The Roman Amphitheatre of Chester Volume 1: The Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology was launched last week at Chester’s Grosvenor Museum.  The excavations revolutionised the understanding of the scale and grandeur of these buildings, and of the activities that took place in the arena and around the amphitheatre. The excavations were funded and managed by Historic England (previously English Heritage) and the former Chester City Council.

In addition to receiving interest from residents and visitors to Chester at the time, the excavations attracted national and international attention. BBC Timewatch featured the excavation in the programme Britain’s Lost Colosseum.

Tony Wilmott, Senior Archaeologist with Historic England and Dan Garner (formerly of Chester City Council), are the authors of this first volume and were  co-directors of the excavations. Tony was voted Current Archaeology’s ‘Archaeologist of the Year’ in 2012.

Councillor Louise Gittins, Cabinet Member Communities and Wellbeing said at the launch: “The project provided a fantastic opportunity for local volunteers and the wider community to get involved, they were able to gain experience of working on site and in finds processing, whether experienced or new to archaeology.

The vast and complex task of analysing what was discovered over the course of those excavations has been carried out by Historic England, by our skilled and hugely knowledgeable archaeologists from Cheshire West and Chester Council and by specialists across the UK.

This has all come together in this fantastic volume, which is a landmark moment for Chester, not only is it the definitive publication on the largest amphitheatre in Britain but it also puts prehistoric Chester on the map.”

The book describes the elaborate structure of the amphitheatre and includes some amazing reconstructions of how it almost certainly looked. It also provides a fascinating study of early Roman occupation of Chester, and tells the story of the site from the around 6,000 BC to the end of the life of the Roman amphitheatre.

The Roman Amphitheatre of Chester Volume 1: The Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology is available from the Grosvenor Museum and from Oxbow Books.

Jan
24

Talking Walls

Chester’s walls have just got chatty!

Pass a ‘Talking Wall’, swipe your phone on a nearby plaque or type the short url, and presto: your phone rings.  It could be Chester Cathedral on the line, or the Booth Mansion, or the Grosvenor Museum!

Using drama, off-the-wall humour and mobile technology, Talking Walls breathes new life into the walls that surround us all.

Talking Walls Chester is brought to you courtesy of CH1ChesterBID who represent over 500 city centre businesses. The project is produced by Sing London – the people who brought Talking Statues to the world.

For more information see the Talking Walls website

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