Tag Archive for 'Roman'

Dig the Romans

Our plans to go on a dig last month were foiled by storms and flooding, so we were especially glad to have another chance in October when we met near North Wraxall where Wessex Archaeology and a team of volunteers are excavating a Roman building.

It’s a long way from our normal stamping ground, so this time parents were invited to stay and join in.

First, Project Officer Phil Andrews took us around the bath-house and showed the different rooms where wealthy Romans once bathed and entertained their guests.

Then we had a chance to help, by excavating 2 test pits on a mysterious mound 100m further up the valley. Phil needed our help to find out what had been there. Was it a cistern to hold water for the bath-house, a water feature or perhaps an area where the builders prepared materials for building the bath-house? We weren’t there long enough to give an answer but Phil and his team will continue the work next week.

Armed with all this knowledge, we each had a go at drawing an artist’s impression of the bath-house as it would have looked. This month is the Big Draw, so we hope some of our pictures will go up on the national Big Draw website.

By 1.00pm the sky looked very grey – not what we had planned for our Roman picnic. But the rain held off just long enough for those who stayed to eat.

Download a page that explains how Romans used bath-houses like the one at Truckle Hill.

You can find out more about the excavation on the Wessex Archaeology website.

Preparing for battle!

Cat came armed with lots of shields this month. Fresh from the armourer, and ready for a coat of paint!

There were two styles to choose from, a rectangular Roman legionary’s shield and a circular Celtic one.

Continue reading ‘Preparing for battle!’

Marvellous Mosaics

This month at YAC it was mosaic madness! Members were set the challenge of creating a mosaic to act as a display for this year’s National Archaeology Day. They were split into four groups, each with its own brief.

The Brief: You have an area of tiles (or tesserae as the Romans would say!) 12 by 12 tiles – that’s 144 individual tesserae! You must design a mosaic using –

Group 1 – The letter Y
Group 2 – The letter A
Group 3 – The letter C
Group 4 – The year 2006

The choice of colours was: Red, Green, Yellow, Black, White & Grey. But we also learnt what colours the Romans might have used:

Red & Brown – Iron stone
Yellow & Brown – Limestone & Sandstone
Blue & Black – Slate
White – Chalk

First each member of the group made his or her own design, then the group used ideas from each to come up with a final design to draw to scale and then be made. This is much the way it would have happened in Roman times. A mosaic being made for a villa would probably have gone through several stages of design, after all the owner of the villa – who was paying for it – would have insisted that it to looked exactly how he or she wanted it to!

Then came the messy bit – gluing each of the 144 tesserae into place on the wooden boards to create the finished mosaic. These are now grouted ready to be used as part of the display.

Nice work guys! :-)

Iron Age activities and Roman replicas

This month’s YAC session looked at daily life in the Iron Age and the Roman invasion. Members were set the task of identifying a series of jobs that Iron Age people would have done.

Then they had to work out what archaeological evidence would be left and how they, as archaeologists, could use this to prove what people were doing in the past.

Having solved this puzzle members were then set the challenge of using their detective skills to interpret an archaeological site. Each team of archaeologists was given a site plan, some environmental data and access to real pottery and animal bones. From this they had to work out as much as possible about the people who lived on the site in the past.

Then half way through the session they were ‘invaded’ by Optio Lucius, a Roman soldier. He came along to tell them not only about the Romans, but to explaine how all the different bits of his outfit had been reproduced using REAL archaeological evidence from the local area!

Iron Age activities and Roman replicas

This month’s YAC session looked at daily life in the Iron Age and the Roman invasion. Members were set the task of identifying a series of jobs that Iron Age people would have done.

Then they had to work out what archaeological evidence would be left and how they, as archaeologists, could use this to prove what people were doing in the past.

Having solved this puzzle members were then set the challenge of using their detective skills to interpret an archaeological site. Each team of archaeologists was given a site plan, some environmental data and access to real pottery and animal bones. From this they had to work out as much as possible about the people who lived on the site in the past.

Then half way through the session they were ‘invaded’ by Optio Lucius, a Roman soldier. He came along to tell them not only about the Romans, but to explaine how all the different bits of his outfit had been reproduced using REAL archaeological evidence from the local area!