Since 1983, I work on archaeological excavations. 1989, I codirected my first own excavation jointly with Christoph Seliger. My excavation projects comprises open area excavations as well as sites with complex stratigraphy. Short summaries of the main sites are given below. Beside these, I carried out smaller watching briefs on sites in Saxony and the North-East of England.
2004 and 2005, I carried out excavations at Merseburg-Cathedral. These investigations were carried out on behalf of the United Cathedral Chapter of Merseburg and Naumburg. Several trenches for services were monitored and plans and sections recorded. It was possible to investigate trenches at the chapter yard and inside the chapter house in more detail stratigraphically.
The excavations in Merseburg are the first to be introduced here in more detail. Please follow this link.
Due to the growing number of visitors to Naumburg Cathedral,
new toilets and a new sewage system became neccessary. 2004, the new
toilets were built in the southern wing of the south cloisters and a
sewer was constructed running down the hill towards the Pfütze site.
The deep trench was monitored during excavation and recorded in section. Thick layers of late medieval demolition were observed which contained a large collection of complete vessels. The base of the sewage trench produced a consinderable amount of 11th and 12th century pottery and structures. Some of these are shown at the image to the left.
Naumburg City Council decided to build a parking space for buses for the growing amount of tourists visiting the cathedral, as Naumburg's main tourist attraction. 2003, a watching brief was carrried out, when the existing 19th and 20th century buildings were demolished and their foundations were dug up. To the north and east of architectural remains identified as medieval by building recording and desk-based assessment, stratigraphic excavation was conducted down to the potential depth of the bedding of the parking.
A large post-medieval pit and modern truncations were excavated below this level to test the preservation of medieval features. None of these completely emptied features reached natural deposits. The layers shown in the elevations of these truncations were carefully cleaned, numbered and described. The elevations themselves were recorded as sections. A tiled floor of a late medieval or renaissance building was uncovered at parts of the trench and it is likely that it orignally covered the complete trench north of a medieval chapel described below. No walls or any robber trenches of foundations for this large building were detected in the north and east of the trench.
The foundations uncovered to the east of the architectural remains belong to St.John the Baptist's Chapel. It is known from written sources that this chapel was demolished in the 19th century whilst building a carpentry and reerected at the cathedral canon`s cemetery. The sculpture of the keystones points towards masons of the famous Naumburg Master's workshop as builders of this small chapel.
The preserved architectural remains to the west and a wall fragment abutting the chapel at its NW-corner indicate that the chapel belonged to a larger medieval building complex. Diplomatic sources indicates that St.John's Chapel was an integral part of the bishop's palace was located here.
Further excavations were carried out in 2005, continuing below the levels reached by my excavation. During three months of excavation, I examined 880 m² by watching brief and excavated 550 m² en detail, a total of 1084 contexts were described and 122 sections and plans recorded. I was assisted by a semi-skilled technician with no experience in stratigraphic excavation, a draughtsperson, 5 full-time labourers with prior excavation experience and 20 part-time labourers in an employment creation scheme without any experience. These part-time workers worked in two teams switching at mid-day.
1999, I carried out excavation at Döbeln-Klostergut. This represents the site of the former Benedictine nunnery. The existing architectural remains as well as the most features excavated are of early16th century and of early modern date. Excavation allowed to add new knowledge to the possible monastic and early medieval dating of the existing architecture. The remains belong to an economic building, presumable a kind of mill, and are mentioned in an inventory created 1554 after the dissolution of the Saxon monastic houses. The possible location of the cloister and monastic church might have been identified when renewing the sewage system towards the SW of Klostergut.
Excavation was carried out with the kind support of the owner, Axel Friedrich and his family.
During construction works for a new sewage in 1997, I conducted excavations at Altzelle Abbey (lat. Cella Sanctae Mariae) near Nossen on behalf of Landesamt für Archäologie Sachsen. Further, smaller watching briefs were carried out by several others. Investigations until 2000 have been analysed and published in several reports (Link). The trenches of these excavations are located outside the cloister, in areas used as cemetery and for diverse economic uses. The main findings of the excavations are those of the medieval water management, tile kilns and the cemetery.
Beside my own excavation projects, I contributed to several projects of colleagues. 1983 still at school at the time, I started digging on the site of Carolyn Heighway at St. Oswald's Priory in Gloucester. Further, I volunteered at Frankfurt-Kalbach, Bonifatiusquelle (director Margarethe Dohrn-Ihmig), at the Neolithic sites in Wang and Bruchenbrücken (director Prof. Jens Lüning) as well as on the large urban excavations in Heidelberg-Kornmarkt and Braunschweig-Eiermarkt. Longer periods and with a more responsible role, I spend time on the following excavations:
Silbury Hill (h. 31 m, dm. 145 m) is the largest artifical prehistoric mound in Europe and forms part of the ritual landscape around the henges of Avebury and Stonehenge, which has World Heritage status. Its monumentality intrigues. So the hill had encountered the interest of antiquarians to solve the origin of its builders and the purpose of its construction. The first known antiquarian investigation was the sinking of a 35m deep shaft from the summit on behalf of the Duke of Northumberland in 1776. In 1849, this intervention was followed by the digging of a tunnel extending to the centre of the Hill by the Dean of Hereford, John Merewether. 1968, the mound was opened once again by Prof. Richard Atkinson. This excavation was founded by BBC as part of its Chronicle series, For the first time, an excavation was accompanied by a film team from start to end.
As a consequence to all these unsufficient backfilled tunnels, several collapses and slump inside the mound lead to further voids over the decades. These suddenly appeared to show up as a hole on the summit and a deep depression at the slope of the hill after heavy rainfalls in 2000. Due to these collapses, English Heritage initiated a conservation plan for the complete and stable backfill of all voids in the tunnel to consolidate the hill. The conservation work was supplemented by an interdisciplinary programme of recording and analysis, including soil studies (traditional, XRF and OSM), palaeo-environmental sampling, several finds analysis, geophysics of the tunnel and the adjacent land as well as a detailed metric 3D-record of the tunnels, the outside and the surroundings of the mound. These new interdisciplinary investigations carried out in the tunnels, on the summit and on the slope added to our knowledge of the construction, phasing and post-Neolithic use of the hill.
This work were undertaken under extreme conditions in the confined space of the 5-6 feet wide tunnel. I carried out the photogrammetric record and 3D-modelling of the tunnel up to ring 65 near the centre of the mound, when the works in the tunnel had to be suspended for six weeks as severe safety issues appeared. Major collapses had been caused by constant rainfall. The condition in the tunnel, esp. the confined space and the bad artificial lighting, made the image capture of stereo-pairs and the control survey difficult. The daily routine of works in the tunnel consisted of the removal of Atkinson's backfill in the mornings by the construction company and in the afternoon by the archaeological recording of the tunnel which consisted in image capture and control survey for photogrammetry and the mapping of archaeological contexts on orthophotos, the end-products of the photogrammetric record of the previous day. During the evaluation process, which was ideally executed during the morning. A photorealistic 3D-model of the tunnel sides was produced. True orthophotos were derived from these models and served as a base for the mapping of the archaeology. These orthophotos were advantageous for the interpretation of archaeology. They were able to show contexts with their associations in an overview. Direct viewing of the tunnel sides are just enable a much more limited area to examined at once, therefore, the complete stratigraphy could not so easily understood.
The archaeological work on site was directed by Fachtna McAvoy and Jim Leary. I am gratefull to Paul Bryan, Steve Tovey and Tom Cromwell for advice in matters concerning photogrammetry and metric survey. I trained Jenny Ryder and Duncan Stirk, who took up my responsibilities on site after the end of my contract, in photogrammetric recording and its evaluation.
I carried out and supervised several post-excavation projects, which included the analysis of the contextual record as well as of finds. This projects comprises my own excavations, such as Öberau, Altzelle, Wurzen and Merseburg, as well as excavations of others, such as excavations at Tell Fekheriye and Durham-Mountjoy. 2001, I supervised a large group of 36 labourers and draughtsperson in an employment creation scheme, where we worked on the finds from several urban excavations in Saxony as well as on excavations carried out in the 1940s south of Leipzig.
Comprehensive manuscripts on the projects below have been submitted for publication.
Working at several site of high architectural importance (Altzelle, Döbeln, Merseburg and Naumburg), it was inevitable to investigate standing architectural remains in areas. I always appreciated the collaboration and fruitful discusssions with art historians, architects, historians and conservation specialists working on these monuments. It was an honour to assist Dr. Harold Taylor when he recorded Repton church in 1986; he taught me a lot on the investigation of historic architecture.
2008, I created a complete building record of a multi-purpose industral building in accordance with English Heritage Level 4 .
The Pier Maltings in Berwick-on-Tweed is an industrial complex, which has experienced many uses during its livespan and was going under large alterations caused by a change of use into 13 residential units in 2008. The Maltings is located at Pier Road on the foreshore of the Tweed estuary. In the early nineteenth century, Pier Road was built, when Ness Gate was opened up through the Elizabethean walls, and lead towards New Pier (construction 1810-1821 by John Rennie, replacing an earlier Elizabethean one of 1577).
To solve the building history and several phases of use of this building, I (at the time employee of TWM Archaeology) carried out a desk-based assessment and a historic building analysis on behalf of C+V-Development.
It is known from written and cartographic sources that the building complex had undergone several changes of use. The start of the building as a whale oil house is connected with the construction of New Pier and Pier Road. With the decline of Berwick's whaling industry in 1837, the oil house and grounds changed ownership to William Young who already owned a brewery at Silver Street, he extended the building up to the corner of and refurbished it into a typical floor malting. Finally, sail maker William Leith, who first had his workshop at the Quays, can be traced as owner of the Pier Maltings from 1934 onwards. His family kept the Maltings until 2006 and produced here after the demise of sailing ships, tents and tarpaulin. They supplied the army during both World Wars and then moved to the building and renting marquees for large events.
The Pier Maltings with its large linear footprint are up today, the dominating building along Pier Road. The pyramidal roofs of its two kilns are very distinctive. Its masonry is local natural sandstone, partially blended with a cement plaster. Its roofs are slate or had been repaired by covering corrugated iron sheet and have very few rooflights. Toward Pier Road, it shows a arched opening and several upper level loading doors. Characteristic for the building type of a malting are the small windows at the rear of the building. Due to the carefull recording and analysis of the building fabric, several phases have been worked out. Already major joints in the facade and the footprint suggest three main building phases. To these phases can be added further phases, taking alterations in the fabric and the interior into account. Several features in the interior such as hatches, hoist, colouring of the wall plaster and repairs and other features on the floor point towards machinery and the spatial use of the building.
One of my main interests in the last year was the use of Geographical Information Systems in archaeology. Here, I contributed to the Historic Envirnment Records of Worcestershire County Council and revised the property records of Newcastle City Council. For projects in Armenia, Indonesia and Syria, I gave advice and assistance on GIS and provided the information on the local grid reference systems. I established the intra-site GIS-database for the Tell Fecheriye project and was here responsible for the input of the spatial data.
During my professional career in archaeology, I was based several times at museums, where I contributed to exhibitions and the daily routine. 2000, I provided a larger input on Altzelle for the exhibition Die sächsische Nacht - Sachsen archäologisch, I selected the exhibits, wrote the texts and provided the illustrations.