Sunday, July 18, 2010

Wednesday, July 14

Back onsite today, we are going to focus on our project. I get to do the camera work, which is kind of funny, as I have avoided getting involved in the hand held digital video camera revolution and have to learn quickly. We get most of what we want in the morning.
Afterward, we take a long walk around the plateau the site sits on. It is kind of hard to imagine the scale of the site from were we are working. We walk along the river to see if we can locate the remains of the Roman bridge that once occupied the site. (The fort was built here for two reasons – to protect Dere Street, the main north/south road in the eastern part of the island and to regulate traffic crossing the river.) We do find some large pilings but can’t be sure they are Roman.

We finish up after lunch and then its back to digging. Our numbers have decreased significantly in the last couple of days. The Texas Tech people have gone home and the local volunteer numbers have dropped in half. Like the group I’m in, others are now working offsite on their projects and some are sick. (Some of this illness appears to be from folks working hard onsite during the day and working hard in the pubs at night. This combined with the cool weather has lower the resistance to colds and it’s going around. I have decided to work hard onsite and mostly skip the other part. These folks are, after all, half my age, so I have to Pace Myself.)

Back in the southeast corner of the fort, which I am calling the Land of Mystery, we have pulled out a lot of soil without much to show for it. We are going to try a new tact of roping off a cross-section through the area and digging out the four areas created by it. Just as I get the roping off completed, we call it a day.

This evening we are having a lecture on an Unknown Topic. Most of us walk over to the campus and assemble in a lecture hall. The talk begins and we are to spend the next hour listening to a discussion of Isotope Analysis of Tooth Enamel for Migration Studies during the Crusades. (I kid you not. Academic archeology studies some weird things.) These folks have developed a significant methodology for this kind of work but it is just too much minutia for me.
After the lecture some of us head out to the pubs. We sit talking for a while and the group grows larger. Unfortunately, a number of the young women have yet to outgrow the giggly, screechy phase of girlhood and the noise is hard on the ears. Some of “older” folks (a relative phrase, given the group) find a quieter place popular with the locals for some conversation and a pint.

About the images:

1. A view looking west from the plateau.
2. Some of the animal bones yet to be removed.
3. Cleaning the stones.
4. Drawing every stone.

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