What do we do when it rains at Silchester? It is an enormous challenge to my organisational skills…what DO we do with 150 plus people head to toe in waterproofs…all looking for something useful to do. The first challenge is to gain control over the situation…it is like herding cats! So, Jon and I round everyone up as best we can, and we all head into the Marquee. I then stand on a stool and announce the obvious: ‘it’s raining’. I then offer: finds washing and environmental sorting in the Marquee; a chance for Reading students to read their Handbooks; revision sessions on stratigraphy with Supervisors. The boilers are put on to provide freeflow of teas and coffees…and we wait to see if the rain will stop.
Elsewhere, we try to keep things kicking over….HQ tries to use the time to catch up with lists, list of lists, e-mails, e-mails of e-mails. Amanda and helpers add context cards to the Integrated Archaeological Database, the Visitors’ Team give site tours to those hardy locals heading out with wellies and dogs into the damp of Hampshire.
As a first day for newcomers, I introduce them to the infamous Silchester Lists – displayed in the Marquee – and to the rules and regulations which are the backbone of the excavation. The cook hut remains an oasis of calm throughout…whatever the weather. Hot soup was the order of the day today!