Waking the Legions: exploring Chester’s Roman Fort

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As part of the Festival of Archaeology 2016 Big Heritage joined forces with Magnitude SurveysChester Cathedral and the Grosvenor Museum to explore Chester's Roman Fort. The festival ran nationally from July 16th - 31st. The Festival of Archaeology - coordinated by the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) - encourages everyone to explore the archaeology of their local area, watch experts at work, and experience archaeology for themselves. You can learn more about the Festival here: Festival of Archaeology 2016. Waking the Legions is part sponsored by the Council of British Archaeology's Mick Aston Archaeology Fund and the Association for Roman Archaeology's Graham Webster Research Fund.

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Waking the Legions is exploring the Deanery Field north of Chester Cathedral situated within the north east corner of the historic city walls. The site was once home to Roman soldiers. Excavations in the 1920’s and 30’s revealed Roman barrack blocks and associated buildings. Work to the city walls in the late nineteenth century also uncovered many Roman tombstones, which are currently on display in the Grosvenor Museum.

Excavations at Deanery Field undertaken by Prof. Newstead

Excavations at Deanery Field undertaken by Prof. Newstead

 

GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY

In addition to the exhibition, Big Heritage and Magnitude Surveys undertook a series of geophysical surveys across Deanery Field to reveal the archaeology below. We used three different techniques, Magnetometery, Resistivity and GPR, with the hope of revealing different information about the area. Together they will help us build a picture of what was happening at the Deanery Field in the Roman and later periods.

You can download the project summary and geophysical survey results round up here: Project Overview and Survey Summary

You can download the full technical report here: Deanery Field Geophysical Report

We were joined on site by many volunteers over the survey weekend who helped us undertake the different types of survey.

You can download the full project evaluation here: Waking the Legions Project Evaluation

 

Below is a selection of photos from the day.

Volunteers undertaking geophysical survey and science experiments

Volunteers undertaking geophysical survey and science experiments

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EXHIBITION

From the 15th of July to the 4th of September visitors were able to visit a free exhibition detailing the results of the excavation, exhibiting finds from the dig and an introduction to the city's most famous archaeologist, Prof. Robert Newstead. Finds were loaned from the Grosvenor Museum and included painted plaster from the barrack blocks, Roman weaponry and armour, jewellery and much more. The exhibition was hosted on the top floor of the King Charles Tower, which is situated on the north east corner of the city walls.

 If you have any questions regarding this project please contact joanne.kirton@bigheritage.co.uk.Deanery Field Objs