A little bit of heavy rain goes a long, long way! It was a most unfamiliar start to my day…..rain smattering on the window pane…and I put on long trousers and a long sleeved shirt…first time in weeks! The dust and grime which coats my car had been washed away by the night’s rainfall (I had been thinking I would need to get the hosepipe out…no need now…) – and as I arrived on site there was a blissful breeze lifting the heat out of the portakabins. What an unusual start to the digging day!
Busy busy day. Mike began with a 10am tour, and I followed on with my 2 favourite U3A groups: Peter Maynard and Spelthorne U3A in the morning, and Alan Povall, Wokingham U3A in the afternoon. Alan and his group have visited us every year since 1998 – and I feel as though I have grown up with them! Peter’s group last visited us in 2002 – 10 years ago – they had some photos with them….I enjoyed re-living the look of the site all those years ago, but didn’t enjoy so much seeing pictures of myself a generation ago….vanity, vanity!
In the afternoon Professor John Allen ran a group session looking at the Roman wall encircling us: this session examines evidence for the geological provenance of the materials used to build the Roman wall, the building style exhibited by the wall, and the character of the building programme and the labour force and its resourcing. John also talks about the conservation of this large monument.
At 3.30 Peter Lawther, Fire Officer from the University of Reading’s Health and Safety department. Peter walked around with myself and Jon n’ John my Fire Officers, as well as Chris Speed, Archaeology’s Health and Safety officer. It was an excellent tour and review of our H&S procedures – and Peter was very satisfied with our provision. Phew!
And then at 4.30pm Ben Ford, Senior Project Manager with Oxford Archaeology, arrived at my invitation to talk to my graduates and Trainees about prospective employment opportunities in commercial archaeology. There is work out there for our graduates – and Ben gathered in 16 CV’s from interested parties. Silchester’s reputation as a training excavation goes ahead of itself and Oxford Archaeology looks very favourably on Silchester graduates.
At 5.30pm, Mike, Nick and I (along with Silchester old timers Ben and Darko) meet with Jenni at Insula III. The previous evening’s rain as provided us with a revelation – the narrow stripes of gravel we spotted yesterday at regular alignments across the trench are in fact the gravel-filled foundation trenches of late Roman buildings! They look exactly like the gravel foundations of our late Roman buildings on Insula IX! The question is….did the Victorians recognise them for what they are? It seems unlikely…and they certainly didn’t record them as such BUT they left them in place and dug alongside them….odder and odder. Oh, to be able to get inside the Victorian excavating mind! Pictures to follow in a future post…..but there are now Roman buildings, floors, foundations popping up everywhere in Insula III…..exciting stuff!
On Insula IX as the heat comes on, I want to share with you the amazing hearth found in Matt’s round house beneath the east-west street (and IS it beneath???)…look at all of those layers! Absolute micromorphology heaven for Cindy and her team….
Oh and while talking about Science@Silchester – take a look at lovely Zoe’s blog! Full of all the fun and facts of being a Science Placement at Silchester! http://archazoeology.wordpress.com/
It has been a busy day and we are all ready for our day off – a busy weekend beckons!
Before I go…..please see our day of Archaeology blog entry: http://www.dayofarchaeology.com/life-in-a-day-the-silchester-town-life-project/
As Zoe would say….Amanda Out!