Day 19

1 Sep

Martin celebrates finding some pottery under the road

The Roman road in Dr Ed’s trench is finally disappearing although the rut down the middle remains like a stubborn stain, defying all attempts to remove it. We eventually hack it out, over-cutting it to avoid any finds contaminating the all important layers underneath the road. The road itself is infuriatingly devoid of finds (as was the one we dug last year) so we will be dependent upon finds from underneath to date it. The date of the road grid is one of the big questions about Caistor, as Donald Atkinson suggested that the town was laid out around AD70 (in the aftermath of the Boudican rebellion) a date which has stuck, although the original evidence was a bit on the dodgy side.

In the forum all is progressing well. We have an historic moment when we remove the foundation of one of the walls of the second phase of the forum. It proves to be built on an extraordinary raft of massive flints and chalk which makes for a lovely section. It is in stark contrast to the other wall of forum 2 which was built by 4th-century cowboy builders. Here the foundation seems to have been built in the wrong place as the superstructure is built on a completely different alignment and is now slightly falling over. Forum 2 has no associated surfaces and may well never have been finished, and with this sort of construction the portico may well have started to fall over almost immediately after it was built. Bad building is not unusual in Roman contexts, but this was clearly a bit that was done while the client was out for the day.

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