Adventures in Finds and Post Excavation

Kurt and Sandra are York-based UK archaeologists, each with over 30 years of experience in British archaeology. Contact them on

Kurt has worked on urban and rural archaeological sites of all eras, specialising in post excavation and the interpretation and publication of complex archaeology. Notable sites include Beddington Roman Villa in Surrey, Castleshaw Roman Fort, the post excavation and publication of Viking and Medieval Coppergate York, excavation of St Leonard’s Hospital York, the Headless Romans of Driffield Terrace, York, and the Community Dig at Ravenglass Vicus, Cumbria. Follow Kurt on Twitter @postexkurt

Sandra concentrates on the study of artefacts. Ceramic building materials (aka brick and tile) are her particular specialisation, and she is the author of many (mostly grey literature) reports concerning this important, but unglamorous, class of find. She has also developed an interest in local history, including gasholders, First World War auxiliary/VAD Hospitals and windmills. Follow Sandra on Twitter @tegels



January - Feb – Kurt’s text and chosen images for the Romans in Ravenglass exhibition at the Ravenglass Railway Museum are finally on display. Further details can be seen on the Digging for Ravenglass blog. The exhibition is on till June 2019. Sandra is currently working on a large amount of brick samples from Sheffield and Kirkleatham.



The hiatus in the news notes from April –December were caused by family illness

February – March A busy two months, with Kurt cleaning up and planning the frigidarium in York Roman Bath Museum.  Sandra contributed the YAYAS-funded display board about World War One Auxiliary Military Hospitals in Central York and a St John’s Brassard (patch supplied by Museum of the Order of St John) to the pop-up exhibition at York’s Bar Convent. She is also supplying information for performances at Temple Newsam during May 5th- 7th about the St John’s VAD Hospital there during World War One.

January – Lots of archaeological work is planned, including at the Roman Bath Museum. Sandra has been sorting out copyright notices for a large number of requested images from YAYAS’s Evelyn Collection.  Those requesting the images include a local historian, a local museum and Historic England


December – Sandra & Kurt volunteered at the Roman Bath Museum. They investigated the Frigidarium finding a clutch of tiles with signatures and hobnail imprints. Further work will include cleaning up the area and recording it archaeologically.  Sandra met with a local historian and Historic England, spending a whole day showing them the collection.

November – Sandra has returned to scanning old glass plates which are part of the Yorkshire Architectural and York Archaeological Society’s Evelyn Collection. This group is the Joseph Duncan Collection of late 19th century images. Kurt will be writing up this season’s excavations at Ravenglass, and look out for a blog on Digging for Ravenglass. Both Sandra and Kurt will be helping to re-jig York’s Roman Bath Museum.

October – Kurt and Sandra had a busy month, but most of it did not involve archaeology or history.  Kurt spoke to the Cawood Heritage group about the evidence for Roman Cawood. At the end of the month Sandra took down the display board about the First World War Auxiliary Military Hospitals in Castle Museum’s Home Comforts Exhibition.  Just days later, it appeared on the Yorkshire Architectural and York Archaeological Society’s stall at the CBA Yorkshire Showcase event.

September – Kurt and Sandra had five days in Ravenglass, during which they worked on various aspects of the village’s Roman heritage. Kurt concentrated on digging test pits with the help of local diggers. Sandra sorted out a large collection of Beach Walking finds so that they can be sent on to specialists. Follow their adventures on the Digging for Ravenglass blog.  Sandra will be working on some cbm from Hull for AOC, and speaking at the Cawood Heritage group meeting.

August – Kurt wrote a design project for forthcoming small-scale excavations at Ravenglass looking for further evidence of the vicus, as well as researching general aspects of the archaeology of York. Sandra helped install the exhibition of Home Comforts: the role of the Red Cross Auxiliary Hospitals in North Yorkshire 1914-1919 in the Community Room at the Castle Museum, York. She compiled the York display board (York being in the West Yorkshire division, under the auspices of the Order of St John) using images from the Hanstock Collection of Yorkshire Architectural and York Archaeological Society.  She also made a slide presentation for the exhibition, including images from North Yorkshire, the York auxiliary hospitals and an audio track of ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning’ recorded in 1917.

July – Kurt went to Portugal and had a great time exploring the heritage of the Douro Valley. Sandra taught a brick recording workshop in Cawood and people will be recording brick in the village; there will be a results session in September. Sandra also posted a piece on the Day of Archaeology project.

June – Kurt and Sandra took part in the Eboracum Roman Festival demonstrating crafts and games, as well as wearing the red security t-shirts on the Roman parades through York.  Kurt is planning his trip to Portugal under the Erasmus PEATS programme, and is set to discover how archaeologists train and work in Portugal. Meanwhile, he continues to plan possible further work at Ravenglass, and Sandra is working on the East Yorkshire tile as well as planning a brick recording day in Cawood.

May – Kurt has continued working as a supervisor at the University of York’s Archaeology Department’s Malton excavation. The dig was filmed and excerpts can be found on the Department’s Facebook page. On 19th May, Headless Gladiators of York (link to Channel 5, requires registration) will be shown on Channel 5 at 8pm – Kurt was a consultant for the programme.

Sandra continues with reporting on the CBM from East Yorkshire, as well as researching York’s First World War Auxiliary Hospitals.  Both are planning their participation in this year’s Eboracum Roman Festival, 1st-4th June.

April – Kurt is working on writing up the small trench at Ravenglass last year, as well as formulating proposals for work there this year. Later on in April he will be supervising University of York students on the Archaeology Department’s dig at Malton

Sandra is working on a small assemblage of ceramic building materials from a site in East Yorkshire for the University of Hull.  Also research for the article on York First World War VAD hospitals continues.

March- Kurt’s paper ‘The Roman main road to Chester and the civilian settlement in York’ has been published in York Historian, Volume 33, 2016. He is now writing up the small excavation that took place in Ravenglass in 2016, which he will then send to the local community. He is still working on the Roman deposit modelling project with John Oxley at the City of York Council.

Sandra has taken delivery of the brick and tile from a site in East Yorkshire. Research for the York VAD Hospitals continues.

February – Kurt is finishing off his Deposit Modelling York case study for forthcoming Historic England guidelines

Sandra is now working on an article about the York VAD hospitals. She will also be helping with the Waterproof Memories project on 24th-25th February

January – Kurt is just finishing his Roman Road article for York Historian.  Lesley Collett has kindly agreed to do the illustrations for this piece. Sandra is writing the text for the York VAD Hospital board for the Home Comforts exhibition at Castle Museum later this year. The board may be finished in time to be shown at the CBA Yorkshire Annual Symposium in February.


December – Kurt is working on his paper on the Roman Road in the Tanner Row area of York.  Sandra is still researching the First World War Auxiliary hospitals in York

November – Kurt is hoping to consult the evidence for the date of Wilmott’s excavation at Tanner Street/Brewer’s Arms, York. He is also completing a paper on York Deposit Modelling with John Oxley for the Historic England guidelines. He will be finishing an article about the Roman road in York’s Colonia for York Historian.  Sandra continues to research York’s first World War Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) hospitals for a display board, funded by YAYAS, that will be part of the ‘Home Comforts’ exhibition next year in York’s Castle Museum. She’s hoping for it be finished in time for CBA Yorkshire’s Conference in February 2017. She will also be preparing the King’s Manor site finds for deposition with the Department of Archaeology, University of York.

October – Kurt and Sandra will be going to consult the archives of the Museum of the Order of St John in London.  Kurt will be writing up September’s investigations in Ravenglass for the various interested parties. He is also involved in writing a York Deposit Modelling article with John Oxley for the proposed Historic England guidelines. In addition he will be starting an article about the Roman road in York’s Colonia for York Historian.

September- Kurt & Sandra went to Ravenglass for a week to undertake a small excavation in cooperation with some local residents, as well as investigating finds from the beach. Also reports for the small investigation at the University of York (site, finds CBM) was written and submitted. Sandra completed an evaluation for a site dug in Hull by AOC

August – Kurt continues to write up the University of York site whilst planning a return to Ravenglass. Sandra continues to research the VAD hospitals, now including the illusive Nunthorpe Hall hospital. And a trip to the Museum of the Order of St John, London, which holds lots of documents on the hospitals, is being arranged

July – Kurt is currently writing up a small site at University of York. Sandra is currently researching the First World War Voluntary Aid Detachment auxiliary hospitals at St Johns (Lord Mayors Walk) and Clifford Street, both in York. She is also recording the finds from King’s Manor

June 2nd & 5th – Kurt will be speaking at York’s Eboracum Roman Festival 1st-5th June. His talk, Romans lose their heads: an unusual cemetery in Roman York, will take place on Thursday 2nd June. Some of his theories are explored in Gladiators: Secrets of the Dead which was shown on UK tv a few years back, so this talk will be your chance to ask him questions face to face! His tour, In the footsteps of the legionaries: the Roman fortress at York, will take place on Sunday 5th June. 

May 16th – Sandra will be talking on the subject of ceramic building materials to the Friargate Community Archaeology Group

April-May – Kurt will be digging out in East Yorkshire with the Department of Archaeology of University of York

April – Kurt will be speaking at the Roman Finds Group meeting ‘Finds from Roman York, Brigantia and Beyond’ on 2nd April

March – Sandra’s CBM report for the Excavations at York Minster Library 1997 has just been published in a BAR volume

February – Kurt’s web report on Driffield Terrace can be downloaded in PDF format from here.  In addition, there is a selected small finds report from the site by Hilary Cool, which is available here.

January - The Headless Romans of Driffield Terrace York (dug by Kurt) have returned to public notice with an article about the skeleton’s DNA in Nature on its Nature Communications page (open access)


November  The Romans in Ravenglass final report is available from here.  Kurt had a major role in both the excavation and the publication about the fort’s vicus