A quiet day as the forum trenches are having their day off. Big news of the day is that Dr Bescoby fords the Tas to do some cores on the far side of the river. This is the first time that any formal archaeological investigation has been carried out on the west side of the river, where the land has been newly acquired by the Norfolk Archaeological Trust with the help of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and South Norfolk Council. To raise the money required is a massive achievement by the Trust in the current climate, and it is a hugely important purchase as detector finds and aerial photography suggests that this is where the Saxon part of Caistor truly lies (rather than in the bit we’re digging where it might lie).
Anyway, Dr B. dons his Wellingtons of Science and strides out across the Tas with his augur in hand. It’s a massive 27 centimetres deep at this point, but the spirit of discovery is there. He is taking core samples across the flood plain of the river as part of our plan to find out where the river was in the Roman period and whether it was much bigger than it is now. There is a strong local tradition that ships sailed up to the walls of Caistor and fastened to iron “ring bolts” that were apparently still present in the wall in the 18th century. It’s a good story but unfortunately Dr B. seems to have conclusively dissed it, by finding a large gravel terrace between the town and the river, which always formed a pretty substantial barrier between the river and the town. It also had some large defensive ditches running along it, suggesting there was always quite a lot of land between the town and the river. The river has moved about but also never seems to have been much bigger.
To celebrate, Dr B and the Glorious Leader drive Dr B’s Landrover up the marked out main street at high speed, in an effort to claim that they are the fastest people ever to have traveled along it. In a fit of megalomania, the Glorious Leader has demanded that everyone drive up the streets rather than diagonally across the site as the diagonal lines are showing up on the aerial photos. This has caused some debate as to whether the Romans drove on the right or left. All opinions, informed or otherwise, gratefully accepted.