Friday, September 19, 2008

Found, cleaned, marked, displayed

I was back in the trench today after some time washing pots. I'm afraid Angus had to put some back in the water, the way my family do when I wash up at home. I don't thing I washed any of the important pieces we saw at the Friday update today, but they would have been just bits of pot at that time. They have now been transformed by brilliant reassembly, which Angus describes as a jigsaw puzzle with no picture, and most of the pieces missing.

The first was thought to be a jug with an impractical spout and the base broken off. But inspired by something seen in Greece, it was turned upside down and was revealed as a beehive. The bees travel up through the spot and the 'base' has now become a lid for hooking out the honey.

The next is even better. Archaeologists, everywhere I think, have been finding almost flat pieces of pottery which actually have a curve with a large radius. When they can find enough to put one partially together, there is a rim on the top and also on the bottom instead of a base. A space in the side is perhaps for putting things in and out. Since ours was found in the remains of a charcoal fire, it seems likely that it was an oven. Rumours that the remains of an apple crumble were found inside are greatly exaggerated. If this is a major archaeological advance, as it may well be, will I be credited with first publication of results? Even before the Worcester News has a picture of Paul Harding dressed as a Roman chef cooking in it? The oven picture is taken through a display case, so it has a reflection, but I will try to get a better one.

The next big discovery is the Roman house , only the second ever found in Worcester. We haven't much detail yet, just the line of the walls and supports. It may have been a wooden house, but it is large. You can't see the scale here, but we're not talking two-up two-down terrace here. The oven was inside, marked here with a polythene bag. With the recent weather, everything is in polythene bags, although today was sunny up to sun-screen standard.

But you didn't come here to look at pictures of empty trenches, did you? They are usually busy with volunteers and the archaeologists who show us how to do it, patiently (as least while we are within earshot).

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