First off, an apology. Professor W. G. Cavanagh (FSA), head of the department of archaeology at the University of Nottingham, has contacted the director to demand why his alternative explanation of the post-holes cut into the road in Trench 2 has not been given due consideration on the blog. On a recent visit to the site, Professor Cavanagh suggested that the large line of pits cut into the road was for a line of posts on which burning Christians could be hoisted as an early form of street lighting. Having given this some thought we now realise that our previous suggestion that the post-holes belonged to a late Roman aisled building paralleled in numerous 3rd- and 4th-century contexts was erroneous and that Professor Cavanagh’s interpretation is in fact likely to be correct. We therefore offer him our full and unreserved apologies.
In the morning we are visited by an unexpectedly large number of children and parents from Education Otherwise, the organisation for home educated children. The director leads a straggly crocodile around the site. “I know a lot about the Romans” he was told by one five-year old, not lacking in self-confidence. “And the Egyptians”, she added. At the end of the tour he is a beaten man. Dave L buries George, a plastic skeleton purchased on Ebay, in the spoil heap so that the children can experience some of the thrills of excavation. At the first sight of plastic bone, however, poor George is ripped unceremoniously from his shallow grave. On the up side, however, the children find a nice piece of Iron Age pot, which the diggers have seemingly missed.
In Trench 1, the round feature seen on the geophysics and previously bigged up as potentially of Iron Age date is revealed to be unequivocally Roman. However, there is a lot of stratigraphy left and so the potential for prehistory remains. In Trench 2, the series of pits noted yesterday reveals some lovely stuff, including a strange deposit including a complete Samian cup (Dragendorff form 33 for you Samian fans), a horn, some scapula (?) and a piece of human skull. It could be a late (2nd century) example of structured deposition or so the director confidently proclaims to Time Team who are filming the removal of the cup. He scores some points, however, by correctly identifying it as a Dragendorff 33, cribbing the information from one of Gwladys the Samian lady’s educational handouts.
Sue from Brampton returns with more cake, made using eggs from her chickens, one of which is called Boudica. It must be an omen.