Thankfully the day started cooler than yesterday and everyone had renewed energy to face more tarmac removal and turf cutting.
Fay and Amy being very careful when taking the turf off as the mosaics are not deeply buried and the roots from the grass enclose the tesserae and loosen them
In the reception room, Carol had cleaned of an area we had previously excavated and as she peeled back the geotextile we had put down there appeared a message from the past! Our past and recent past at that! A bag with things in from 2016. When we back fill a site we usually leave behind something to show we have been there, anything from 1 pence coin from the current year, broken pens, messages on plastic labels and even once a pair of old digging boots and the broken site teapot! It is to let future archaeologist know that someone has been there before them, a kind of ritual – there I have said that word 🙂 – closing of the site.
The message from the recent past
Stephanie and Lorna join us to clean back the reception room, the boarder of red and white stripes was in good condition and was carrying on intact. This was a hopeful sign that we may find more intact mosaic further into the room, where the full scheme of original patterns were mostly unknown. Small glimpses of what it maybe had been seen in previous small test holes to check the mosaics condition but there were gaps.
Stephanie and Lorna revealing the red and white boarder
Today was a very good day especially for Martin and I as we managed to get time to have a dig ourselves, which meant that Martin had the honour along with Pete, Carol, Stephanie and Lorna, of finding the new designs that had not seen the light of day since the Victorians covered it up after the excavation in the 1860s. A small section of guilloche pattern and flower petal shape along with a pattern we already knew would be there, a shape we call an ‘egg timer’ due to the two triangle sections.
Lorna, Martin, Stephanie, Pete and Carol tacking off the soil above the more detailed patterns in the reception room
The guilloche design at the top of the photo and a diamond shape next to it then the flower petal below next to the ‘egg timer’ at the bottom of the picture
Meanwhile in the corridor Fay, Rob and Amy have been working away uncovering the checker board pattern which has just changed to a much more complicated design.
Fay Rob and Amy have done a brilliant job in the corridor and have exposed the checker board pattern and are now finding a different design in the next section.
Tomorrow we will start again removing more tarmac and turf first thing then its down on our knees to see what other designs we can find