Big day in the world of strange ritual pits. Andy and Keith’s journey to the centre of the earth in Trench 2 culminates in the discovery of a complete mortarium (big mixing/grinding bowl of a type discussed in a previous entry). This is a lovely thing as you never get them complete because even the crazy people who lived in the Olden Days didn’t usually throw away complete vessels. Unless they lived at Caistor, in which case they thought nothing of digging a great big pit, putting some pots in, and filling it up with sand. Why? Who knows? Certainly not the director, who is reduced to using the word “ritual”, the last refuge of archaeologists who can’t think of another explanation. He says it on camera too, ensuring the eternal ridicule of his peers.
Karen and Susanna from Time Team are pleased because it makes up for the total absence of the Iron Age. You could probably dig two trenches in any field in Norfolk and find more Iron Age stuff than we have. However, now we have ritual weirdness, which is good and will make for better telly than failure to find Boudica. It may even be better than Chris Skinner’s horse, filmed the previous day. The ritual weirdness case rests on having two upturned complete Samian cups (Dragendorff form 33 for all you Samian fans) in adjacent pits, together with parts of wild animals (such as boar). The mortarium pit also contains red deer. One of the Samian pits also contains the jaw of a teeny dog (a sort of Romano-British Chihuahua equivalent) which has had the canines filed down. Weird or what? The fact that these pits are adjacent to the road running between the two temple complexes suggests they are symbolic in some way. If anyone has a better suggestion, all comments gratefully accepted, unless you believe in leylines and suchlike, in which case it’s best to keep your thoughts a secret.
Trench 1 are winning at the moment because they are almost at the bottom. There are a couple of features cut into the lowest level. Could they be Iron Age? Probably not. Wait for tomorrow’s exciting installment etc.
Today’s photographs, as with many on the blog, come courtesy of Chrissy, who remembers to take interesting shots of people, rather than boring ones of soil and red and white poles.