Day 10

As Led Zeppelin so prophetically sang, “If it keeps on raining, levee’s gonna break”. However, Robert, Jimmy, Bonzo and the other one failed to mention the other downsides of rain, which is that your diggers get really miserable and your trenches start looking like the Somme.

Basically the story of the day is that it starts raining about 9.00 am and doesn’t really stop, despite the director’s continual assurances that “it’ll break around lunchtime”. Everyone gets seriously soggy and spirits begin to sag, as does the display of souvenir T-shirts which becomes damp and droopy. As a result, finds are a bit thin on the ground as there is a lot of sitting around in the tea tent and wishing that it would stop raining.

Karen and Susanna from Time Team turn up to film anything that is happening, but it has to be said that exciting footage is thin on the ground. We sense a degree of doubt creeping into the Time Team camp that we will actually reach the Iron Age, given the depth of stratigraphy remaining. They may have a point, but we remain hopeful. If the weather holds, it’ll be fine. Really. Trust us.

Some bright points emerge from the day, however. Top marks go to George for his fantastic lemon drizzle cake. George is keen to go to Sandhurst and doubtless his patisserie skills will serve him well in the forces. Another good moment comes when the postman arrives, driving up the field in his van, with a letter addressed to “Caistor Roman Dig Site”. He is a true advert for the Royal Mail. We also hear from Andrew Ray (key team member), who is stuck in hospital in Birmingham, and so can’t be with us this year. So we use this space to say a big hello to Andrew.

As previewed yesterday, Dr Dave B (master geophysicist) is detained up at the University of East Anglia, creating a variety of hideous graves for a new forensics Masters course. He manages to knock off two in the morning, working in the pouring rain like a true murderer. The first is a simulated war grave and the second is a stereotypical murder victim wrapped in a black bin liner with a B & Q axe (other brands of murder weapon are available). They are plastic skeletons clothed appropriately with a load of animal organs stuffed in the internal cavity. This is because when organs break down in the ground they release a lot of trapped heavy metals which give off a big geophysical signal. So buried corpses actually give off a bigger geophysical signal after 3 months (potentially murderers take note). The students will have to find the graves and interpret the signals appropriately. It’s a learning experience also for Dave. As he emerges from the graves covered with mud and animal intestines, he decides that for the remaining graves it may be better to freeze the offal in an appropriate shape before trying to insert it into the rib cage of a clothed plastic skeleton.

A picture of the results is inserted below, although those of a sensitive disposition may wish to avoid it.

A murder victim, as created by Dr Dave in the cause of science.

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