Dig Spotlight: Digging the Rich History of York
One need not go only to Italy or locations near the Mediterranean to dig into what remains of the ancient Roman Empire. The United Kingdom boasts a rich heritage that reaches back through the time of Roman settlement and long before. Things like Hadrian's Wall and Roman fortress outposts come to mind. Equally as fascinating are the architectural remains and artifacts of medieval history, a time period that few other countries can match, archaeologically speaking.
A new excavation this summer in York will give scholars, students and volunteers a chance to taste a little of that history. The York Archaeology Trust, in partnership with the York Museums Trust, will be conducting a new excavation in the northern part of the precinct of St. Mary's Abbey. The targeted site lies within an area that scholars suspect may be a possible annex to a Roman fortress. In addition, it lies within the precinct walls of St. Mary's Abbey, affording an exciting opportunity to investigate medieval deposits and features that have not yet been explored. The objectives of the excavation will be to determine if there was a Roman annex to the fortress, to investigate signs of occupation from circa 500 to 1,000 AD (the Anglican-Viking period), to identify the functions of this part of the medieval abbey, and to study the post-medieval sequence of deposits. Students and volunteers will learn how to identify, record and excavate archaeological deposits; process, sort, and examine finds; process and sort environmental samples; and examine the site archive to determine the broader context of the investigation. The experience is supplemented with tours and lectures. Staying in modern student resident halls or other locations in York, the participant will have the opportunity to taste the culture that England has to offer, including the historical/archaeological sites of the surrounding area as well as all of the other modern amenities of a city.
The excavation season runs from June 20 to September 9, 2005, and it is open to anyone over the age of 16 (although this age limit is negotiable, contact below). The minimum period of participation is flexible: Volunteers and students may come for one day, up to a module of three weeks or the entire season. Contact:
York Archaeology Trust
York, YO1 7FG England
Tel: +44 (0) 1904 663015
Mobile: +44 (0) 7717 535393
Fax: +44 (0) 1904 663024
Visit the website, where details will soon be posted.