I heard an off-the-cuff remark on Radio 4 this morning…a throwaway remark by the 7am weather forecaster….’It is likely that July will remain unsettled’. And it threw my day into sharp relief. We need a Strategy. If this weather is to be the norm for this July…well, we just have to get on with it and deal with it as best we can. I held a meeting for my staff on site at 8.45am and we discussed options. If the rain continues we need to a) make some archaeological progress on site, despite the conditions not being ideal b) provide a teaching experience which will still allow all of our students to be assessed appropriately for their time on the Field School module and c) pr0vide an enjoyable and worthwhile experience for everyone attending the Field School.
We batted ideas around…..teaching sessions were offered, lectures were offered, some areas of the site can be worked even if the deluge continues (slots through the Roman road for example) and I came away feeling that we can do it. Despite the mud.
Today’s noteworthy events: 1) the portaloo emptying lorry got stuck for an hour and a half. I now have Jonathan Stacey, rescuing farmer, on speed dial. He is a very busy man and had far far better things to do with his day than rescue us! But he chained the lorry out with a spin of his tractor wheels – and we survive another week. Without clean portaloos, the dig would founder! 2) we closed the dig car-parks – and everyone now has to park on the droveway 3) the sun shone – momentarily – and we got everyone on site for up to 2 hours before the rain began again!
Thursday was a beautiful day…..hot and sunny. The mud began to dry out – and lost that unappealing smell. We took our waterproofs off – and broke out the suntan cream. What a contrast. Every single team was able to dig. Some parts of the site are still very wet and unworkable – but every Supervisor was able to bring their team into the trench and work with them.