Happy Hump Day!

Happy Birthday day! Happy Birthday to Su on site and Happy Birthday to my stepfather Peter off site! It is also the middle of of Week 1 and we now slide down towards our day off on Friday before re-energising for the weekend.

Today was a little bit about Health and Safety…..we are always aware and vigilant – and a lot about beginning to actually excavate deposits on site. Once we start digging, time just runs away with us….and I am already looking ahead to Week 2 as Jenni and I  update our rotas and lists…..

I have 3 Work Experience youngsters on site this week: Stefan, Luke and Kieran. I have been incredibly impressed by their attention, interest and focus as they have worked in Finds and Science – and I have rewarded this with a chance for them to work in Insula III under Hen’s close supervision. I enjoy watching them put trowel to soil for the first time….it is a thrill you never forget, but one you can never entirely recreate.

Elsewhere it was all about trips into the university and to our barn to pick up bags of samples, collect boards for our Exhibition Centre, and borrow another flotation tank for our Science team.

The morning was cold and blustery and we were all wrapped in several layers until the sun shone through this afternoon – and what a stunning afternoon it was – high cloud, blue skies, and the wind whipping the soil around our faces.

Images for today:

All systems go in Insula IX: Nick's team find a beautifully preserved early Roman brooch

All systems go in Insula IX: Nick’s team find a beautifully preserved early Roman brooch

Guy the Gorilla makes a bid for freedom up the marquee wal

Guy the Gorilla makes a bid for freedom up the marquee wall

The Science team is working flat out: floating our backlog of samples, sorting the residue, bagging and labeling…..it’s a production line and Cindy runs a tight ship.

Bag ordering in the marquee!

Bag ordering in the marquee!

Tom demonstrating his bag ordering skills!

Tom demonstrating his bag ordering and labeling skills!

Laurie and Zoe: flexible bag sorting (great socks, Zoe!)

Laurie and Zoe: those smiles say it all!

We had another school visit today; I could hear the excited shouts of the children drifting over the excavation trench! And Zoe and Will were kept on their toes by a constant stream of excited and appreciative visitors. Zoe and I ordered 100 terracotta pots which we will break in to small pieces – and then invite school groups to stick them back together again….such is the mindset of an archaeologist! We are also designing a dig t-shirt plus a number of Silchester branded items to offer for sale. Watch this space!

An acrostic poem by one of the Cedar's schoolchildren

An acrostic poem by one of the Cedar’s schoolchildren…..Awesome Silchester!!

The Exhibition Centre is growing apace – John Brown is to be found knee deep in wood chippings, as he creates the perfect exhibition space. Today we collected 8 display boards courtesy of the University – many thanks to Fiona and Margaret for lending them!

Exhibit No. 1: just to prove I am on site.....a picture of me with a display board

Exhibit No. 1: just to prove I am on site…..a picture of me with a display board

Teaching today consisted of Planning and Leveling talks conducted by Dan and his Planning team…..by the end of today all of our participants will have a basic theoretical understanding of Silchester’s recording system……so now it’s time for them to put theory into practice in the trench…..

And to whet appetites for the newly dug archaeology, here is a  picture of Insula III:


Lauren's early Roman wall foundation.....or is it two wall foundations, one on top of the other?

Lauren’s early Roman wall foundation…..or is it two wall foundations, one on top of the other?

And….finally…..Sarah is making video diaries of Mike and myself……’Day 3 in the Big Brother House’ type thing! Fly on the wall stuff…..I introduced myself and talked about the satisfaction of seeing a project through from start to finish….plus my apprehension about this final season! Will we do it? What will we find? Will it rain…a lot? Will everyone enjoy it? And Mike did the clever stuff: research aims and prospects! If we don’t end up on the cutting room floor, these short video diaries will form part of the new series of’ ‘Digging for Britain’ with Alice Roberts.

My eyes are closing…..it is late….I drove all the way to Witney at day’s end with a mouthwatering chocolate cake for my stepfather on the back seat of the car …..my sister Vicki and I sang Happy Birthday to him, I ate a large piece of cake…and then I drove back to Reading.



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