Sep
17

Student archaeologists help uncover Chester’s Elusive Saxon past.

Student archaeologists have uncovered new evidence of Saxon life in the city. Every year, archaeologists from Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Cultural Service (Grosvenor Museum) and the University of Chester organise a training dig for the University’s second year archaeology students. The dig takes place in Grosvenor Park in Chester. The Park was chosen because it sits next to two significant 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 the intriguing archaeology that lies beneath.

This year’s dig got to the bottom of a very large ditch that destroyed the Roman road at the western end of the site. Pieces of preserved wood found in the bottom of the ditch – possibly from a wattle hurdle or fence – were sent away for radiocarbon (C14) dating.  The results have recently been revealed, and show a very high probability that the ditch is Late Saxon and may pre-date the foundation of Chester’s Saxon burh in 907 AD. The size of the ditch also suggests that it was defensive, and may form the boundary of settlement referred to in the Domesday entry for Chester as ‘the Bishop’s Borough’.

Dr Amy Gray Jones, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Chester, said: “We are delighted that this discovery has been made during the students’ Dig. The excavation in Grosvenor Park is an integral part of their archaeology degree and we started this year’s Dig eager to find out more about the mysterious ditches we uncovered last year, and to see whether they could add to our knowledge of the immediate post-Roman occupation of Chester, which is much less well understood. To have this information, offering more evidence of our city during Saxon times, is really exciting. It also shows that our students, whilst learning archaeological skills, are making a very real contribution to furthering our historical knowledge of Chester. This is very much a partnership project with Cheshire West and Chester Council, and our thanks also go to CWAC’s archaeologists for all their support and enthusiasm.”

Dan Garner, of L-P Archaeology and co-director of the dig said: “The ditch, measuring roughly 5 metres wide and 2.5 metres deep, has been an exciting and unexpected discovery. Excavating to the base was challenging due to ground water constantly seeping in to the excavation and it has taken two digging seasons to complete. The result of the scientific dating is a fitting reward for all the hard work done by the students in getting to the bottom of this archaeological mystery!”

Student Jack Douglass added: “Finding out that the ditch is dated to the Late Saxon era is very intriguing, and it’s great to have physical evidence for a currently under-represented period of history for the city of Chester. It’s even more exciting to have been involved with the excavations in trench four directly.”

Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, and Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, added: “The Grosvenor Park digs are always popular, bringing interested spectators, particularly to the open days. We know Chester is rich in archaeology, to unlock some of our Saxon past is very exciting and I’m sure future years will reveal more. I’m glad the students had such a unique opportunity to be part of this find.”

The training dig is a partnership project between the 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.

https://www1.chester.ac.uk/news/student-archaeologists-unveil-chester%E2%80%99s-saxon-past?list=6800

http://univchester-parkdig.blogspot.co.uk/

Aug
09

Archaeological Volunteer Opportunities August/September 2019

Thank you everyone who has been able to come and help us with the processing of the finds from the excavation in Grosvenor Park. We have washed everything that needs washing from this year so now we are marking the pottery, ceramic building material and clay tobacco pipes before sorting, bagging and boxing all the finds in material and context order. Over the next few weeks we will be carrying out those tasks and also doing some basic recording of everything we have found.

We would welcome your help and we will be working in the Grosvenor Museum on the following dates:

Tuesday 20 August
Wednesday 21 August
Thursday 22 August

Tuesday 27 August
Wednesday 28 August
Thursday 29 August

Tuesday 3 September
Wednesday 4 September
Thursday 5 September

The morning sessions will run from 9.30am and the afternoon from 1.30 – 5 pm but you are welcome to arrive any time after 9:30am or 1.30 pm. Tea, coffee and biscuits are provided. If you would like to help please email julie.edwards@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk with the dates and times you are able to attend.

Thank you! 

May
30

Archaeological Volunteers: Opportunities June/July 2019

The archaeologists from CWAC’s Cultural Service (Grosvenor Museum) will be starting a new project on Monday 3 June 2019 to wash the finds from the archaeological excavations that have taken place in Grosvenor Park, Chester. These excavations have so far uncovered a Roman road that once led to the east entrance of the amphitheatre; a large stone building, perhaps part of the medieval hospital and chapel of St. Anne destroyed during the Civil War; a huge ditch which is c.2.5m deep!

http://www.cheshirearchaeology.org.uk/?p=2369

We would very much welcome your help. We will be in the Pavilion in Grosvenor Park, Chester from 9.30 am until 5pm on the following dates (please note some 12.30 starts and on Wednesday 24th July we will be running an early evening session until 7pm).

June

Mon 3, Tues 4, Fri 7

Tues 18 – Thurs 20            (nb 12.30 start on Thursday)

Tues 25 – Thurs 27            (nb 12.30 start on Thursday)

July

Tues 09 – Fri 12                 (nb 12.30 start on Thursday)

Tues 16 – Fri 19                  (nb 12.30 start on Thursday)

Tues 23 – Thurs 25           (nb Weds 24 until 7 pm)


Tea and coffee are provided, we have some rubber gloves but you may wish to bring your own.

If you would like to 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
20

BIG DIG 2019 OPEN AFTERNOON

EXCITING PARTNERSHIP PROJECT READY TO REVEAL MORE OF CHESTER’S HIDDEN PAST

On Wedensday May 29 why not visit Grosvenor Park, Chester where the students from the University of Chester will be holding their annual BIG DIG 2019 OPEN AFTERNOON from 1pm to 4.30pm giving you the opportunity to see first-hand the archaeology that has been uncovered on this years excavation and to learn more about the history of this little known corner of Chester.

Amongst the exciting discoveries there is a Roman road that once led across the Park to the amphitheatre and the remains of a large building that was destroyed during the English Civil War!

The training dig is a partnership project between the 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. As well as the Open Day the training dig will be open for public viewing from May 2 until May 31, 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays and between 12.30pm – 1.30pm).

Plan your visit

Apr
24

Volunteer for Murgatroyd’s Brine Pumps

Volunteer opportunities are available on a project to  conserve and repair  of Murgatroyd’s Brine pump and shaft in Middlewich.

Murgatroyd’s Brine Pumps are the only remaining pumps in the UK which are still on their original, hand-dug, brine shaft.

Middlewich Heritage Trust is a registered charity (No 1161871) which wants to preserve and renovate the pumps for the community and as an educational resource.

Works are due to begin from Mid-May through to August.

If you wish to volunteer, more details can be viewed  in this pdf document Middlewich volunteer roles 2019 (pdf 482kb)

Apr
23

EXCITING PARTNERSHIP PROJECT TO REVEAL MORE OF CHESTER’S HIDDEN PAST

Thursday  2 May  2019 will see archaeologists from Cheshire West and Chester Council and the University of Chester begin their annual training dig for the University’s 2nd year archaeology students.  

The dig takes place in Grosvenor Park, Chester; the Park has been chosen because it sits next to two significant 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 the intriguing archaeology that lies beneath.

So far the students have discovered:  a Roman road leading across the Park to the amphitheatre, a large building destroyed during the English Civil War and two very wide ditches running north-south across the Park. The building seems to have been associated with St. John’s, 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 grand home in the city. This year they want to discover more about this building and to find more evidence for the civilian settlement (‘town’) that grew up around the Roman fortress. They are also hoping to find out more about the role of the ditches – did they mark the boundaries of areas of the city? – and uncover evidence for the elusive Saxon Chester!

Lisa Harris, Director of Places Strategy, Cheshire West and Chester Council said: “We are delighted once again to take part in this partnership project with the University of Chester. It will not only provide essential experience for the students but also reinforce our commitment to making the historic environment of west Cheshire a great place in which to live and visit.”

The training dig is open for public viewing from May 2 to May 31, 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays and between 12.30pm – 1.30pm), the site will also be open to view on Sunday 2 June during Deva Triathlon 2019. An Open Afternoon will be taking place 1- 4.30pm on May 29 giving you the chance to see first-hand what the students have found and to learn more about the archaeology of this corner of Chester.

Said Dr Amy Gray Jones, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Chester: “It’s with great excitement that our students start a new season of excavation in Grosvenor Park. As an integral part of their archaeology degree it provides a great opportunity for them to develop their skills and experience whilst their discoveries bring them face to face with the changing nature of life in Chester over its long history. We’re particularly eager to find out more about the mysterious ditches uncovered last year and whether they can add to our knowledge of the immediate post-Roman occupation of Chester which is much less well understood.”

The training dig is a partnership project between the 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. Further information and updates will be available on the students’ Dig Blog during the excavation at:  http://univchester-parkdig.blogspot.co.uk/  Information about the University of Chester Department of History and Archaeology: https://www1.chester.ac.uk/departments/history-and-archaeology

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feb
20

Weekend (archaeological) pot washing – free but 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 9 March Grosvenor Museum archaeologists will be washing Roman pottery from excavations at the site of the old Cheshire Police Headquarters which took place before the current HQ building was constructed.  Would you like to help?

We will be running two sessions at our base in the Grosvenor Museum, Grosvenor Street, Chester CH1 2DD:

  • Morning 10 am – 1 pm
  • Afternoon 1.30 pm – 4.30 pm

No experience necessary, there will be trained archaeologists to tell you what to do.  Please bring an apron, or wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.  You must be over 16 to take part.  Our working space is limited so to book a place please email:

julie.edwards@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

Information:
The Grosvenor Museum

27 Grosvenor Street
Chester
Cheshire
CH1 2DD

How to get here:
By bus:

The Museum is a 10-15 minute walk from Chester Bus Interchange. From the Cross, walk down Bridge Street and at the traffic lights turn right onto Grosvenor Street. The museum is on the left hand side.

By train:
20 minutes journey from Chester Railway Station. Take the shuttle bus from directly outside the station entrance to the city centre (ticket £1). The museum is a 15 minute walk from the bus stop.

By car:
The nearest public car park is The Little Roodee Coach and Car Park on Castle Drive, a 5 minute walk away from the museum.

Park and Ride:
https://www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/residents/transport-and-roads/public-transport/buses/park-and-ride.aspx

Jan
17

MAY 2019: Grosvenor Museum Archaeological Volunteer Dates

In August 2018 the Grosvenor Museum started a new project which aims to bring the HQ archaeology project archive to a condition that meets the museum’s and Historic England’s ‘accessible archive’ standards.

A team of volunteers have been washing animal bone, Roman and medieval pottery and building material.  There have been some interesting pieces – tiles with animal prints, legionary stamps, tilers’ signature marks, fragments of hypocaust flue tiles, pieces of Roman chimney and water pipe but the latest find is part of a Roman face pot . The animal bone included both animal and bird bone which would have been mainly a result of food processing but also included small dogs, perhaps pets, as well as horses.

We are now running more finds processing sessions to complete the washing of the huge collection of Roman pottery from the site If you would like to volunteer to help us we will be working in our Grosvenor Museum office Tuesday – Thursday in the following weeks:

Tuesday 7 May – Thursday 9 May

Tuesday 14 May – Thursday 16 May

Tuesday 21 May – Thursday 23 May

The morning session begins at 10:00am, with a break for an hours lunch before the afternoon session at 1.30pm, both sessions will finish by 4:30pm; you are welcome to arrive any time after the session begins and to stay for both the morning and afternoon sessions or just attend for one.

If you would like to come and help please email cheryl.quinn@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk with the dates and times you are able to attend and we will provide the information you will need.

Tea and coffee are provided, we have some rubber gloves but you may wish to bring your own.

We are very grateful to everyone  who has helped so far.

Information:

The Grosvenor Museum
27 Grosvenor Street
Chester
Cheshire
CH1 2DD

How to get here:

By bus:
The Museum is a 10-15 minute walk from Chester Bus Interchange. From the Cross, walk down Bridge Street and at the traffic lights turn right onto Grosvenor Street. The museum is on the left hand side.

By train:
20 minutes journey from Chester Railway Station. Take the shuttle bus from directly outside the station entrance to the city centre (ticket £1). The museum is a 15 minute walk from the bus stop.

By car:
The nearest public car park is The Little Roodee Coach and Car Park on Castle Drive, a 5 minute walk away from the museum. There is a disabled parking bay outside the museum.

Park and Ride:
https://www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/residents/transport-and-roads/public-transport/buses/park-and-ride.aspx

 

 

Nov
30

Barrow Old Hall and Twiss Green, Warrington

Book CoverA report on the excavations carried out at the moated sites of Barrow Old Hall and Twiss Green in the 1980s is now available from Archaeopress Publishing. The report is available as in print and electronic formats.

Nov
28

HQ Project update and more volunteer dates …

In August 2018 the Grosvenor Museum, with funding from Historic England, started a project which aims to bring a large archaeology project archive up to a condition that meets Museum and Historic England ‘accessible archive’ standards. The archive is from the 2007 excavations at the site of the HQ building in Chester and includes over 300 boxes of finds and 10 large boxes of recording documents as well as numerous site drawings, photographs and digital files.

So far a team of volunteers have washed 112 very large boxes of ceramic building material, animal bone and medieval / post-medieval pottery. There were some interesting pieces – tiles with animal prints, legionary stamps, tilers’ signature marks, fragments of hypocaust flue tiles, pieces of Roman chimney and water pipe and some very nice medieval floor tiles. The animal bone included both animal and bird bone which would have been mainly a result of food processing but also included small dogs, perhaps pets, as well as horses. The pottery includes pieces made locally as well as in France, Germany, and Italy.

We are now running some more finds processing sessions, where we will be sorting, boxing and carrying out basic cataloging  of various finds as well as washing some of the large quantity of Roman pottery from the HQ site and we would very much welcome volunteer help. All the sessions will take place at the Grosvenor Museum, Chester.

The dates and times we will be in the Grosvenor Museum, Chester are:

Tuesday          4 December 9.30 – 1 pm and 1.45 – 5 pm

Wednesday    5 December 9.30 – 1 pm and 1.45 – 5 pm

Thursday        6 December 9.30 – 1 pm and 1.45 – 5 pm

Friday              7 December 9.30 – 1 pm and 1.45 – 5 pm

 

Monday          10 December 9.30 am – 1 pm and 1.45 – 5 pm

Tuesday         11 December 9.30 am – 1 pm and 1.45 – 5 pm

Wednesday   12 December 10 am – 1 pm and 1.45 – 5 pm

Friday             14 December 9.30 am – 1 pm and 1.45 – 5 pm

 

Tuesday         18 December 9.30 am – 1 pm and 1.45 – 5 pm

Thursday       20 December 9.30 am – 1 pm and 1.45 – 5 pm

Friday             21 December 9.30 am – 1 pm and 1.45 – 5 pm

 

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 and she will provide you with the information that you will need.

Tea and coffee are provided, we have some rubber gloves but you may wish to bring your own.

The start times are just an indicator of when the building will be open and you are welcome to arrive any time after the stated time.

We are very grateful to everyone  who has helped so far.

Information:
The Grosvenor Museum
27 Grosvenor Street
Chester
Cheshire
CH1 2DD

How to get here:

By bus
The Museum is a 10-15 minute walk from Chester Bus Interchange. From the Cross, walk down Bridge Street and at the traffic lights turn right onto Grosvenor Street. The museum is on the left hand side.

By train
20 minutes journey from Chester Railway Station. Take the shuttle bus from directly outside the station entrance to the city centre (ticket £1). The museum is a 15 minute walk from the bus stop.

By car
The nearest public car park is The Little Roodee Coach and Car Park on Castle Drive, a 5 minute walk away from the museum.

 

 

 

 

 

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