Hoorah. It’s officially the first day of the excavation, although the title Day 5 may suggest that this is not the case. A fresh faced crew of volunteers and students appear, ready to push back the frontiers of knowledge and flog plastic swords to an unsuspecting public. The director attempts a motivational speech and everyone is dispatched to the trenches to do their worst.
The suspicious masonry in the church trench has turned into a building. A massive flint and lime mortar wall just to the south of the existing church buttress. The director is cock a hoop and is trying to convince himself and anyone who will listen that it is a large Roman building, although John P., who is running the church excavations is wisely sceptical and suggests that it is medieval. Whatever, it’s a good result and a good bonus for the church trench.
Meanwhile in the excitingly named Trench 2 the road is showing up nicely, more or less in the place where it should be. A horse bridal ring has been found, which seems to be (annoyingly) wedged into the road surface, so it’s going to take a little time to extract it. Tons of stuff (the technical term) is also coming out of both trenches, with large chunks of mortaria (a type of pot with lumps of grit in the interior surface that is used like a mortar and pestle) coming from Trench 1 (which seems to be winning in the finds stakes at the moment). The Trench 1 bods also come up with rather a tasty stylus. Many of these have been found at Caistor and it’s clear that there was a lot of writing going on.
The major theme of the day, however, is wind (and not only in the context of the director’s introductory speech). It is (insert expletive of choice) windy and the contents of the marquee are continually swirling around in a maelstrom of health and safety notices and informative archaeological leaflets. The directorial luxury tent has to be nailed down, lest it flies over the town wall to the north. Wind is about one of the most irritating things when digging, second only to rain and continual finds of iron blobs that need to be recorded.
Today saw 182 visitors to the site and two plastic swords sold. Chrissie and Andy come up trumps on the cake and pastry front, setting an excellent standard that we hope others will rise to in the following days.