It was the final day of work for everyone today before the final team head back home with just a few week before the university year begins again.
There was lots to do this morning. We started off by scanning the tessellated pavement with a Faro 3D laser scanner. This will allow an extremely accurate 3D computer model of the discovery to be made. Recording the pavement in this level of detail will allow other scholars to study the remains without the need to disturb them again.
Having scanned the pavement the next step was to backfill the sensitive areas of the site by hand. Pushing barrows of dirt over the painstakingly excavated hypocaust and tessellated floor was a strange experience but it will help to support and protect these parts of the site when we backfill by machine tomorrow.
One exciting last minute discovery was the realisation that a large ‘rock’ towards the northern end of Room 4 was actually a plano-convex lead ingot. This hefty item was lifted and will be taken back to Newcastle along with the other finds for study. Presumably it was manufactured when the building was demolished and robbed. All of the lead fittings will have gone into a crucible and been made into this leaden lump. Quite why it was left behind is a mystery…. and an avenue for future research.
This excitement over we got on with removing the fencing and creating a smaller enclosure around the trench in preparation. The hire company will be picking the fencing up tomorrow – here’s hoping they come nice and early.
Other jobs included striking the tent we use for a site office and getting all the tools and other kit back to base. An afternoon of sorting, packing and cleaning tools kept most of the team busy. Douglas (below) even got all the samples organised for their collection by GeoFlo tomorrow.
James G spent the evening checking paperwork and plans, which caused him at one moment to bless the invention of single context planning as a sneaking suspicion about one part of the site was confirmed by close analysis of the drawings. It was quite late by the time he was done and the team were, by this time, all lurking in the marquee clutching their purloined rubbers (or erasers for N American readers). By this time Andy had deserted us for the comfort of the Masons Arms.
Tomorrow will see the team depart to Newcastle and other parts of the country. Left behind will be James G, Andy, Elliot and Hayley who will oversee the backfilling of the trench and the final pack up of the camp. Ski will join us for one last time and hopefully find, as the spoil gets pushed back into the trench, all the metal bits and pieces we missed.
The end is nigh and everyone’s thoughts are turning homeward.