Day 10

21 Aug

Another week means another health and safety briefing in which the Glorious Leader attempts to cover himself against future legal action by warning the team not to fall into holes or hit each other with spades. The project is also furnished with a super cake in the form of an excavation complete with trowel and samian ware (see below).

The trenches continue in a downwards direction. There is some anxious measuring of trench sides as they start to creep towards the dreaded 1.20m in the Atkinson trenches, which is the point we have to stop and step the trenches in and start wearing hard hats and all sorts. Obviously in Atkinson’s day, workmen could cheerfully burrow to the centre of the earth protected only by a flat cap and continuous smoking. Even though the Atkinson photos are in black and white it is clear that there is a total absence of high vis clothing.

Today’s special word was “conflagration” as we debate the signs of burning in the basilica in trench 8. They look more like little fires rather than “a major conflagration”. It’s possible that the basilica was used for small-scale occupation and industrial activity (as also occurred at Silchester) rather than being destroyed by rampaging barbarian hordes. All Atkinson’s phases of forum were destroyed by fire so he obviously liked nothing more than a major conflagration. So far, these episodes of fire seem to be a bit thin on the ground, literally and metaphorically.

Day 10 brings the oddest moment of the project so far, when two people (adults) ask if their teddies (which they are clutching to their bosoms) can be photographed in the trench. The teddies seem to be in sailor suits although whether this has any bearing on the situation is not clear. Ian rises to the task like a man who photographs soft toys in a Roman setting on a daily basis. It is possible that they are taking part in some sort of “photo your teddy in bizarre circumstances” competition. If anyone can shed any light on this, we’d be grateful.

The earwigs have breached our defenses and have been found inside the tents. Dr Ed’s kettle stops whistling. He discovers that the hole has been blocked by an earwig, now inadvertently steamed.

Graham and Wendy and the forum wall.

Ladies in Red.

Quality cake...

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