Helpful photos are helpful

Here are some very helpful photos to illustrate the awesome moments I mentioned in the last post!

Since there are no digital pictures of my first dig in Colorado (2001 was a time without digital cameras. We also had to fend off mammoths and saber-toothed cats during the dig.) I’ll begin with pictures from my 2005 dig in England!


Here I am balancing on a wooden plank in a very muddy trench that was the result of a Victorian drain going through one of the two main Roman roads at Arbeia. As with all drains, many cool things were found there including but not limited to coins!

Tiermes! Such a great place. I continue to hold a bitter grudge against the local government for being stupid and effectively stopping all dig activity at the site. My season was the last 😦 Termestinos por vida!

A partial view of the area that I did most of my work in. This is the edge of the forum and the roads around it. In the distance is our dirt pile, and to the right of that is the cliff where the vulture family lived.

Another lovely view of our site and the general neighborhood. I think this may have been where the nicer homes would have been, as they had insane panoramic views of the valley below. There also would have been apartment blocks (or insulae) attached to the side of the hill. They were about 3-4 stories tall depending on the area of the hill they were on.

Remember how I mentioned a sweet aqueduct at Tiermes? Here it is! Or, what’s left of it. This ran under the roads (and would have been covered with well-fitted pavestones in those notches) and brought in water from miles away.

Some delicious Roman graffiti from the quarry across the valley! Seriously, how cool is this?

Here’s a little something I found. This bit of blue glass would have been inlaid in a piece of jewelry.

Another cool thing I found! This here is the dangly part of some of bronze earrings. You will notice how at the top is a little loop that would have had a thin wire through it to connect the dangle to the rest of the earring.

This is what happens when people get all gung-ho about clearing a road that wasn’t actually supposed to have anything in it other than dirt and debris! We were pretty ecstatic when this happened, after the few seconds of mild panic at the *crunch* of bone.

Keepin’ it real as only the Visigoths know how. Margaret actually named our lady, but I have since forgotten the name as it was rather long. Thanks to Margaret and her love of bones (huesos!!) we were able to determine that she was between 30 and 40 years old when she died and some copper dust near her indicated she had been buried with jewelry that had since decayed.

When we weren’t digging up severely cool things, we took trips all over the place and experienced even more awesome. On the left, our near-death trip to my favorite castle, Caracena. Walls were scaled, sheep poo was avoided and medieval pottery bits were found. On the right, The nearest big city, Segovia. It’s claim to fame is this intense aqueduct and a lovely castle on top of its hill/mountain/miniature Mt. Everest. The aqueduct is Roman, in case you were wondering, and while it no longer carries water, it’s still there. All of it.

Once again in England, we now move on to 2008 and my week-long dig on MoD land in the middle of the frighteningly scenic Salisbury Plain.

Here we have the first trench belonging to Team Futile Effort. We were named so because there was a whole lot of NOTHING in our trench. It was quite literally dirt, more dirt, bone-shattering veins and chunks of flint and, wait for it…dirt.

The lone find of my trenching! Flint hand tool straight outta the Neolithic y’all.

The other trench, this time the product of the continued hard work of Team Politically Incorrect. Behold! There is a trench within our trench! My horribly sunburned self welcomes you to this proud moment.

A lovely view of Salisbury Plain being patrolled by some friendly military choppers.

Now we proceed into the exciting world of media archaeology! This is a land where logic and reason rarely apply and shenanigans occur on a frequent if not daily basis.

One of our lecturers, TV’s very own Mark Horton, was the consultant for a BBC series called Bonekickers (yeah, I know) which followed the staff of an archaeology lab/department at the fictional Wessex University (exteriors: Bath, interiors: based on Bristol). I will spare you the horrid details of what actually occured on this show, but we had the pleasure of visiting their location sets a few times. This moment was from the filming of the second episode in which our heroes are excavating shipwreck bits from the ubermuddy banks of the Severn. This of course led to the lobbing of mud at the crew by the cast.

Bringing a bit more credibility to the game, it’s Time Team! Yes, the Time Team. One of the perks of my program was a placement on one of the Time Team shoots during their 2008 season (which came out to be season 15 I believe…). Each of us got to pick a shoot that interested us/fit with our schedule and then we tagged along as an intern/PA/3rd unit camera assistant. My site was potentially a Roman villa out in the middle of a field owned by the Unilever factory nearby…which was where ice cream R&D was located. After three days of furious digging and 6 trenches, it was concluded that the structure we found was a sort of proto-villa or villa-esque home and farm complex. I believe they titled the episode ‘The Mysterious Ice Cream Villa”. The entire cast and crew of Time Team were unbelievably amazing. Everyone was so nice and so excited about what they were doing and finding, since the majority of my dig was spent scratching our collective heads and trying to make sense of what was being found. In this particular picture, the 3rd unit is filming Stewart, the geology and map guru, and Neal ( I think that’s Neal back there…) discussing the satellite pictures of the site and what could potentially be found over the next few days.

To conclude this rather epic post, here’s a find from my Time Team dig! It’s a bit of tile with some Latin scribbled on it and it may also be upside down 😛

Cheers!

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