Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Friday, July 10
On site today we are looking to expand the work going on directly behind us, as the total lack of anything but dirt has become a growing puzzle. As I am a little frustrated with troweling thru small rocks, I volunteer to help. This work involves digging up soil with a Mattock, shoveling it into a wheel barrel and dumping said wheel barrel on the spoils heap. Simply put, it is hard physical labour. Four local volunteers and myself get to it. We quickly fall into a rhythm, dig, shovel, dump, repeat. We are actually finding a lot of stuff, small bits of pottery, animal bones and other stray things. What we are not finding is the layer of rock that should be here.
We clear three inches over a large area. Matt comes by, is puzzled and says, “Do it again”. Dig, shovel, dump, and repeat. We have now cleared the area a second time with still no rocks to show for it.
We break for lunch. I notice that we are beginning to form into groups. People with similar interest or personalities are beginning to coalesce together. Someone could write a thesis on how 40 strangers arrange themselves into groups in such a short period of time.
Back to the fort. Matt is becoming increasing mystified as to why the expected layer of rocks is not appearing. We begin a third pass. One of our group is spending more time talking than working and is beginning to annoy me. (Probably because every muscle in my back is aching and he is yakking.) I really wish he would shut up.
We complete the third pass with still no luck. By this time several layers of site management are watching our progress (or lack thereof) equally mystified. Matt asks for one more pass. At this point I can’t lift my arms much less a Mattock and I take a pass. I get my camera and do some shooting. The wind has really picked up and is blowing dust all over the site. Everyone is very tired and wants to call it a week.
At the end of the day, Peter gives us a site tour, starting in the fort. Much of his discussion is on the area we have been working in and the missing layer of rocks. He gets to the “what it all means” bit and delivers a shocker. He says that the thinking now is that the layer we have been working on all week could be a medieval reuse of the original Roman fort. The Romans may have shaped the rocks but their current configuration is medieval.
The bus ride home is a quieter than normal. Everyone is tired and those of us working in the fort are more than a little frustrated.
Tonight I skip dinner at St. Chad’s and go to an Indian restaurant across the street for some real food and some peace and quiet. I order and am brought some chutney and papadams. I put the first bite in my mouth and it explodes in flavour. Oh joy! The first decent food I have had in a week. I devour it all.
The day’s work has really worn me out and tomorrow is an early morning. Crash.
About the images:
1. Every single rock has to be drawn on paper.
2. Drawing rocks.
3. Lunch time.