We were all up and out early as the laser scanner folk were due before 8am and we also had a lot of trenches to finish digging, with three days to go.
The rain had made all the colours zing across the site, showing the contrast in the soil with areas of burning showing up red. But it was also frustrating as we could not get to work, as the rain made the site difficult to work on and the layers we would be digging would not be easy dig. The mantra is ‘if it’s raining and the site will suffer by working on it (layers of soil sticking to boots and depositing the soil and finds on another part of the site) you don’t work, but if the site will not suffer you go out in the rain!’
Once the rain stopped, Rob headed for his possible drain, it was time to lift the lid, we all gathered round with thoughts of a lovely stone lined drain with just enough sludgy soil to hold all the goodies, rings that slipped of bathers fingers or glass oil jars. The stone came up, it was beautifully tooled on the underside, but no sign of stone sides of a drain. He troweled back underneath but only found more of the layer either side of the stones!
So what is/was it, it maybe the bottom of a stone drain missing its sides and top, or could it relate to what was found in an earlier excavation about twenty years ago a bit further down the north range. They found what they thought to be iron rings that would have held wooden pipes, did they sit on the stone? The stones are very well worked, a lot of effort has gone into shaping them so probably not? its yet another puzzle to ponder over the next few months.
We ended the day with a gathering of staff and property volunteers for a tour of the site and talk about what we have found, this was followed by a ‘bring a plate’ buffet and drinks to toast our efforts and carry on conversations about the villa. Thank you everyone for a lovely evening.