So it’s Monday and today is a good day for the archaeology, particularly in the wacky world of the forum excavations. As was probably explained in earlier entries, one of the things we’re trying to do here is understand the sequence of events in the forum and to see whether the sequence established by Donald Atkinson in 1931-33 really stands up to scrutiny. Atkinson basically suggested that the forum was built in the first half of the 2nd century, but was destroyed by fire at the start of the 3rd century. It then lay abandoned for the best part of 100 years, before being rebuilt at the start of the 4th century. This is a very intriguing story. If true it suggests that the town may have a very interesting history, perhaps dramatically contracting during the 3rd century, before being renewed at the start of the 4th.
The forum (as the public heart of the town) is key for understanding this story but we don’t know what evidence Atkinson had for these fires and phases of abandonment. Now, in trench 6, we have a thick(ish) level of burning and a thick level of silt between the two major phases of the forum. This silt is something we have seen elsewhere in the town and does (tentatively) suggest that there is a pause or contraction of occupation.
Dr Bescoby has once again crossed the Tas and has started geophysics on the Norfolk Archaeological Trust’s new land, which is (to use a scientific term) absolutely stuffed with archaeology, so we’re hoping for some good results from that.
Earwig news: Dr Ed’s attempt to befriend the earwigs in his tent has not met with success. Relations have broken down between the parties and Dr Ed has resorted to squashing them again. He is (before you write in) fully appraised of their maternal qualities, but their blocking of his kettle whistle was the last straw and forced a return to full-scale combat measures. They have, however, breached the outer defenses of the tents of both Dr Ed and the Glorious Leader and are clearly winning. If anyone knows a cunning earwig trap, please let us know.