The Opening Ceremony is behind us and as the Olympics kick-off, Silchester builds up to its final 2 weeks of the 2012 season. We were inundated by visitors: families, groups, dogwalkers, couples, interested onlookers. Helena and Charlie fielded the large numbers deftly, and the students poured out to give tours. We had 2 booked-in tours: the New Forest Archaeology Group in the morning and Berkshire Archaeology Society in the afternoon. They donned headphones and listened to Mike as he led them through the intricacies of our archaeology. Despite the advantages of the walkways, it is becoming very difficult to point out our archaeological features 4om away. A certain amount of gymnastics are involved…..pointing, describing, arching, waving…as we leap from feature to feature. I am sure the groups are simply waiting for either Mike or myself to fall into one of the stagnant pools of water still littering the excavation…
A suppressed air of excitement hangs over the trench: a pall of expectation. Tonight is Silchester’s famous Beer Festival. An enormous amount of work is put into the organisation of one of Insula IX’s more famous social occasions.
But first the Reading students had to take their assessed exam – surrounded by barrels and bottles….as the skeleton of the Beer Festival gradually emerged around them. Concentration was all.
On site digging continues apace: Nicky has been digging 3 intercutting features in Matt Lees’ area: a linear gulley cutting through 2 intertwined pits. A micromorph sample through the fills will help determine structure and function.
In Sarah Henley’s south-east area a total surprise! A Victorian pit (previously excavated in 1999) is found to have been sited directly over what is probably a late Roman well. Steven and Perry step up to the mark, and under John Brown’s expert tuition, the well fill is excavated down to a depth of approximately 1.5m. It is then squared off to put the shoreing in. Within the fill, some surprisingly large pieces of squared off building flints are recovered – do they represent demolition of a surrounding building?
5.30pm, the barbeque is lit…..and the Beer Festival is underway. It is a glorious weather evening, the end of 4 weeks on site – and everyone is ready to let their hair down. Let the Games – and the Beer Festival commence…..