Sunday, July 25, 2010

Wednesday, July 21

After a night of heavy rain the site does not look as bad as I had feared. There is some standing water, but not much, the rain has stopped and by mid afternoon the sun will come out and begin to dry things out.
In the pit we have begun to make four separate pits into two, tearing down one of the (now large) walls that separated them. My pit is still not yielding as much as the others and we are somewhat puzzled. In the late afternoon, Peter comes by and begins throwing dirt around in my area. After a few minutes he thinks he has finally found what he is looking for – clay. It looks like we could be reaching the bottom of our structure.

“My thing” has become a minor tourist attraction and we are developing a list of suggestions as to what it could be but we are no closer to figuring it out. It is still too deep to remove but I have been slowly removing stuff around it to get a better look. Now I am only left with two small rocks just above it. If I can get rid of those I will have a clear, level surface to work on around it. Matt is only slowing me down a little so I am hopeful I may have it by the end of the week.
Today is Summer’s birthday (22) so we go out for dinner before our weekly lecture. Tonight’s lecture is by Michael Shanks and is going to be a treat. As I have taken several classes from him I know what we are in for. For most of the rest of the group, this will be a first.
Michael does not disappoint. He is off and running at break neck speed and as usual it requires some mental gymnastics to keep up. Tonight he has the use of a large chalkboard, which is soon covered with arrows running every which way. His style of lecturing is much like his diagramming. If you let your mind wander even briefly you find yourself wondering how we went from Roman Binchester to 16th century English literature. My favorite phrase of the evening is “the variability of variability”.
After the lecture a large group gathers in a pub to continue Summer’s birthday party. Gary’s email about spending more time in pubs than onsite is a topic of discussion, but doesn’t seem to have had much of an impact. (Indeed some of the folks will be out after 2am and not onsite the next morning. One of supervisors is leading the partying group. She has the room above mine and I hear her come in very late. It seems she has a Jekyll and Hyde personality when it comes to drinking. She is yelling at people and throwing things around her room. I am beginning to worry about her.)
One of the more interesting topics of gossip has been the development of “couples” during our time here. There were two already prior to arriving and we now seem to have three more, with potentially two others in the making. One of these potential couples is comprised of our two youngest full time members. He is a smart and very immature 17 year old (our next birthday, as he will be 18 next week. This has not kept him out of the pubs, though) and she an 18 year old in a huge hurry to prove herself. His intellect is very unfocused and his comic act is clearly covering up some attention issues at home. It is growing tiresome for some of us older folks but tonight she seems quite taken by it. My guess is it won’t last – despite her youth she is too smart to be taken in by it for long.
When the party gets ready to move on to the next pub I take my leave. I know where the partying is going to led to and I am not interested. Must Pace Myself.

About the images"
1. Lunch break onsite.
2. Matt's dog Magggie and the football she has destroyed while we have been here.

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