Yesterday, I visited my second-year students in the Grosvenor Park, close to St John’s Priory to the south-east of the city walls of Chester. In collaboration with Cheshire West and Chester Council’s historic environment team, they are investigating evidence of an English civil war fire-fight outside the city wall during the siege of Chester and superb evidence for early modern/late medieval houses. This in turn overlies Roman settlement evidence from the canabae outside the Roman fortress of Deva.
The Chester Amphitheatre Environs Research Project, now in its 10th field season, is a superb and distinctive student training dig. The project employs professional archaeologists and university staff and integrates research and a term-time multi-faceted pedagogic experience in practical archaeology for students.
Yesterday, they had their open day today, allowing visitors to explore finds and get tours of the dig. Follow their blog here. It was great to see my students hard at work, confident and engaged with the process and the questions being raised by the dig, the full range of archaeological techniques from survey to photography, finds processing to heavy excavation work. I was also impressed to see their growing knowledge and familiarity with Roman, medieval and post-medieval material culture from the dig, from samian ware to musket shot.