It’s the last official day of the dig, although there will be some fiddling about for a couple of days (so no escaping the blog), particularly up at the church where an unfortunate number of bodies are appearing. As we are digging in a graveyard this should perhaps be less of a surprise than it is, but they are slightly lower than we expected. Hopefully most of them will be able to stay where they are, but we need to be sure that they won’t be affected by the foundations of the new building.
Elsewhere it’s a race to the finish with Trench 1 removing the last layer to reveal the natural sand. And guess what. It has post-holes cut into it. Probably. Kathryn S thinks we’re making it up and our post-holes wouldn’t stand up in court (and as a lawyer she should know), but archaeologists are hard wired to preface all nouns with the adjectives “possible” or “probable” (as in “probable post-hole”, “possible chariot burial” or “probable cake”) so we can live with this degree of uncertainty. Hopefully we will be able to ring Time Team and tell them that they’ll have to reshoot the ending of the film as torcs and Iceni coins come pouring out of our three possible post-holes, but it doesn’t seem terribly likely.
In Trench 2, the bottom of the road is finally reached and there is square root of nothing at all in terms of dating evidence. There is also no evidence of an early track-way and as we are pretty much bang in the middle of the road, the idea that the diagonal road followed an earlier Iron Age route can be fairly conclusively laid to rest. So the date of the town’s foundation remains enigmatic. Although we have our nice pit of AD 60-70 in Trench 1, there is no evidence that the streets were laid out at this time and indeed most of the evidence still suggests that this took place slightly later. It’s all going to need some pondering. Rhiane continues her quest for the record of the greatest number of gravel surfaces to be planned and removed by a single person. She has now gone through at least 6 phases of courtyard and has come to a final surface. Giles has assured her that this will be the last one, and that beneath this final layer of cobbles lie ultimate truth and knowledge. She believes him and agrees to come in tomorrow and hack them off.
A Boudica moment occurs in the afternoon when a coach and horses suddenly gallop into the town at a fairish lick. The Boudica image is dispelled when the driver (for want of a more equestrian term) turns out to be a posh looking bloke in a flat cap, rather than a hennaed warrior queen but you can’t have everything. The aforementioned warrior queen (who looked a bit like Carol Decker from forgotten 80s soft rockers T Pau according to the pictures in John Davies’ new book) will remain undiscovered for another year unless she’s wedged into a very small post-hole. The hypothesis has been tested and found wanting. But the cake was nice.