In trench 6, we realise that part of what we have been digging is still the remains of one of Donald Atkinson’s holes. His activities in this bit are turning into a bit of a mystery. We have been unable to find the north portico of the first phase of the forum. Although it is marked on all the plans (with varying degrees of certainty) no photos survive that can be securely identified as belonging to this bit. To add to the confusion, the photo labelled “north portico of forum 1” (depicting a wall of similar construction to the south portico) turns out to belong to an entirely different portico. The end of Donald’s trench is a sort of semi-circular hole, where he obviously lost faith in the whole enterprise and gave up. This all creates a world of stratigraphic uncertainty for John and Neil.
12 SepCatching up with all this now and apologies for delay. By Thursday we are in a world of burning in trench 7. While, as previously reported, the burning in trench 8 can be dismissed as minor hearths/campfires of wandering Teutons, the burning in trench 7 is evidence of a major conflagration. A huge layer of burnt tiles lies across most of the trench suggesting that a roof has collapsed during a fire. There are no complete tiles left, however, suggesting that someone has gone through the debris after the fire and salvaged all the good bits.