Following the excitement of Richard Branson’s proxy appearance in the form of a balloon, the day dawns bright and sunny and rapidly turns into what is commonly termed a scorcher, which sees our world class volunteers wilting in the heat.
The trench 1 crew continue to scrape at gravel, egged on by the director who exhorts them to seek the glories of the past. Opinion is divided as to whether some of the gravelly features we are seeing in trench 1 are periglacial in origin, so we will need to call in a Quaternary geologist to try and resolve this. There has been something of a pottery drought in trench 1 in the last few days, not helped by the fact that the smug folk in the church trench continue to bring it in by the bucket load. The church trench also produces a very nice iron stylus during one of the regular metal detector sweeps, showing that at least one member of Caistor’s Roman community could write. Animal bone is also coming out of the church trench by the shed-load (a technical term denoting a measurement between barrow load and truck load) and it seems very likely that graves were dug through extensive Roman levels that lie beneath. We are starting to see some possible signs of Roman archaeology in the bottom of the trench, much higher than we imagined, giving some indication of the effects of long-term ploughing on the town outside the graveyard.
Hazel and the finds crew are doing sterling work on the finds, and have achieved the remarkable feat of being almost up to date with the pot-washing, a feat possibly unprecedented in the annals of archaeology.
We have a lot of visitors today, including David Durrant from Little Melton who owns a wonderful scrapbook of cuttings and notes made by his father relating to the 1929-35 excavations. This includes the only copy of the “turf cutting” picture that we recreated on day one. He tells us how his mother used to collect the Roman oyster shell from the edges of the town and crush it up to feed to the chickens in order to get good shells on the eggs. Other good news is that Mick brings shortbread handcrafted by the lovely Mrs Boyle.
We have received our first comment on the blog but we obviously need to reach out to a wider public and respond to some of the concerns of the internet community. Future entries will therefore examine the effect of Lindsey Lohan on the Turin Shroud and the relationship between pyramids, UFOs and Cristiano Ronaldo. We will seek to establish whether Britney Spears has an opinion on leylines, whether Michael Jackson was a druid and the extent to which Boudica played a role in (a) faking the 1969 moon landings or (b) the assassination of JFK.
Sword sales: 0.
Slow-worm sightings: 0
A happy student. Declan models for next year’s Nottingham prospectus.
Extreme planning – Giles uses 4 frames in an attempt to master the periglacial history of trench 1.