I'm looking forward to seeing the latest adventures of Indiana Jones on the big screen later this year. If you want to see what real archaeologists do though, then you don't have to wait until the summer to find out. Our Field Archaeology Unit are holding open days on 1 and 2 February in Tarbock to showcase the findings of their latest excavation at the site of a new link road between the M62 and M57. The team excavated the site in a project sponsored by the Highways Agency and Laing O'Rourke Infrastructure.
Full details of the open days with pictures of some of the finds are on our website. Ron Cowell, director of this archaeological project, will be there to answer any questions. Here's a bit more information from him about the initial findings:
"We have found sites along the line of the road belonging to several periods and visitors will be able to see the background at the open day. We have not long finished the excavations so the finds work is still at an early stage but here are a few preliminary findings of what will be available at the open days.
We found early prehistoric period hunter gatherer camps, some dated to 5000 BC and some possibly a bit later, possibly to 3-4000 BC. There will be some flint tools from the site on display including a Mesolithic flint from 5000 BC and a flake which possibly dates from c4-3000 BC.
We also found the industrial part of the Roman farmstead we excavated in 1993, when the original roundabout was built. That produced stamped tile of the twentieth legion, who were stationed at Chester, so the site was being used to make roofing tile and bricks which were then sent to Chester. The example here is dated to 167-8 AD. We have several of these already in the museum's collection from the previous excavation but we did find a lot of other tiles and bricks this year as well as some Roman pottery, so some of that will be available for viewing.
We found the metalworking area for the farm where they were making iron objects and examples of the iron slag will be available for viewing. We didn't find any metal objects other than two Celtic coins and seven Roman coins. They are being conserved so won't be available at the open days but there will be photos of them and the background to their finding.
We also found a medieval settlement dating from around 1200-1400 AD. There will be examples of the pottery from that site and photos of some medieval metalwork that was found there but is also currently with conservation."