We need to talk about Room 27 …..but first the biscuits at morning tea break.
Milk chocolate hob nobs, digestive biscuits (McVities of course) and Oreo thins. Not sure where they came from but I think Fay had something to do with it.. and tea brought to us on a tray under the gazebo during our regular 11am rendezvous. The conversation slid from regional accents..to the Orkneys… to Stockholm and then fragmented into things generally Scandinavian …before we turned back to the trenches.
Jenny and Fay were moving back along the east wall of Room 28 where sections of tessellation are emerging from beneath the Victorian topsoil. Nearby I spent a bit of time uncovering the stone-kerbed hearth, one of three (Dark Age?) that had helped destroy the central pattern of the mosaic. This one is made of crushed reused Roman box flue-tiles and is difficult to clean.
Alexander and Nick had the quiet trench, away from the visitors, tucked behind Rooms 25 and 26. The modern overburden is all but gone and the underlying rubble contains largely Roman material apart from a stray fragment of tobacco pipe stem….perhaps brought down through a stray vole hole. An earlier foundation of Room 25 is emerging. Nick found a nice chunk of samian base.
Jill and Les have now defined both sides of the boundary wall.. up-slope on the north side of the villa. Large chunks of bone and Roman pottery were being found …..when Peter called me over.
Now Room 27 seemed to have been sorted out in the first few days of the dig.
In trench 5c, in the north-east corner of the room, there was the remnant of a pink cement floor founded on a limestone and mortar hardstanding. The partition wall with Room 28 was a late Roman insert abutting the north wall which was earlier. Both cut the natural rock 10-15cm below the surface.
Peter’s south-east trench 5d was therefore a formality. Check out one or two shallow features cut into the hardstanding …otherwise the pattern would be the same…peel back the thin yellow mortary mix and there would be the natural limestone and clay just a few centimetres beneath.
It doesn’t want to be found.. two weeks in and the archaeology refuses to be bottomed. Deep stripes of stratified Roman deposits slope towards the south wall which is broad, nicely constructed and now 4 thick courses deep. There are some good rim sherds of pottery down there.
That’s not why Peter called me over.
He had found a fragment of glass.
A high class find. Never seen anything like that before.
What else lies beneath Room 27.. and… what is this deep space that is being uncovered.