Rain 2

Today I woke to the dreaded sound of water falling from the sky. I hate these mornings. I know I will have to decide what to do with 130 people in a field awash in Hampshire.

This is what we did:

For an hour all participants read the Silchester Handbook in the marquee. We have no finds to wash yet!! Cindy, Lisa and Carolina trained 2 people in the art of environmental sieving. Emily got to know her team¬† by talking to them! Zoe made lists and altered rotas.¬† Jon took 3 people to Mortimer surgery. John Brown, Natalie and the well team pumped out this season’s deep feature objective: well(s) in the south-east area – and decided on a strategy for excavation: we think we can see the latest well in the sequence! Progress! Matt and Hen dug with a skeleton crew. Finds washed and processed every last item found in the last couple of days. Dan cemented in the new temporary benchmarks (TBM), Nick prepared a lecture for the students, Sam worked on his questionnaires, Helen and Charlie met and greeted the few brave souls who ventured out to see the excavation. Jean and Lyn made coffee and prepared lunch.

At tea-break Mike Fulford drove out to deliver a lecture on Iron Age Silchester in St. Mary’s church. I organised for 60 people to take off their boots and sit in the church pews to listen to Mike talk about the project’s latest discoveries. By chance we coincided with a visit by the bishop. He addressed us all and left saying that he would pray for better weather….. I am sure he has a hot line.

And….I am ashamed to say that I – in all the fluster – managed to drop my white Blackberry down a grille set into the dais at the front of the church. We managed to lift the grille and I picked 3 undergraduates with the longest arms to try and retrieve it….I could see my phone blinking miserably beneath right angles of steel. Jon – once again – saved the day – by attaching duct tape and blu-tac to the end of an umbrella. With a certain amount of contorting he affected a rescue. My hero.

Jon - a grille, blu-tac and an umbrella

Boots at the church door

Lectures in St. Mary's Church


After lunch I gave another talk in the church – this time on site recording methods – and then it was back to site. It was still raining. Silchester is beginning to resemble the Isle of Wight Festival field. The recycling lorry got stuck by our recycling bin. It took half an hour to push it free. We had to unload our food delivery on the droveway outside site and wheelbarrow it in to the marquee (on the plus side the food was excellent – shepherd’s pie, stuffed peppers, macaroni cheese and coffee cake). Spirits are still high – but for how much longer? Can I trust the weather forecast? What will we do tomorrow……but I ended the day zipped up inside the front porch of a tent with a convivial glass of wine in hand. Life ain’t so bad.

I love my students!


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