Day 6

17 Aug

A quiet(ish) day as trenches 4 and 5 (no longer the World of the Anglo-Saxons) are having their day off although the redoubtable Dr Ed (who is camping and thus has nothing better to do) seizes the moment and plans the road, drawing 5000 small stones in the process. He is Dr Ed because he has a PhD, and because (as our older readers will remember) Mr Ed was a horse. Dr Ed’s PhD was on the Saxons in Norfolk, partly based around the Caistor evidence, and so the ongoing lack of Saxon-ness in the northwest corner is unfortunate. They are here (based on coin, metalwork and pot finds), but we currently can’t find them.

In the forum trenches Donald Atkinson’s excavations are emerging quite clearly. These can be emptied out at speed and will hopefully give us a window onto the archaeology that Atkinson carved through as he followed the walls. Wall-chasing is frowned upon by archaeologists as it destroys the relationship between the walls and the surrounding deposits. Donald Atkinson, however, seems to have not fully understood this. We are already starting to see some evidence that should help us to really clarify the dating and building phases of the forum. Currently, however, we are seeing no sign of the fire that purportedly destroyed the first phase of the forum. Big fires leave big archaeological traces of charred material and other burnt stuff. It’s early days yet but we’re seeing none of that at the moment.

Media presence was low key today, although the Anglia weather bulletin was presented from the site by a very nice young lady in slightly unsuitable footwear. She told us that it was going to rain on Thursday, so we’ll see what happens with that. The Director is doubtful. He is a devotee of XC Weather, the weather website for indefatigable optimists, which tells him that there will only be light rain after work has finished on Thursday. We shall see.

Today’s image is of a very tasty Roman key (shank missing) as identified by Hazel from her burgeoning library of Roman finds books. It’s just the end surviving, so we won’t be opening any doors with it, but it’s very lovely nonetheless.

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