Yesterday saw a small but select group of CRP volunteers descend upon Lincoln by chariot for guided tours of the area originally occupied by the Roman legionary fortress. In this case the chariot was diesel powered rather than horse drawn and fitted with seatbelts, a feature not commonly encountered on Roman chariots.
The morning began with a focus on Roman Lincoln led by Will Bowden that took in the East gate, the splendid mint wall of the Basilica, a seriously impressive piece of standing masonry, the North gate (Newport Arch), the forum and the location of a water cistern/reservoir that was used to store water from an aqueduct for onward transmission to the public baths.
Following lunch, taken at a variety of watering holes, the party moved on to the Museum. This houses a lovely multi period array of tasty artefacts, my favourites of which were possibly the two pins topped with beautifully carved miniature female busts each displaying a different hairdo.
The second half of the afternoon saw an equally interesting tour focussing on medieval Lincoln led by Chris King, one of Will’s University colleagues.This tour culminated in a walk around the outside of the cathedral that served to confirm the sheer scale of this monumental structure. A bonus for me was the sighting of one of the cathedral peregrines giving us a brief display of it’s aerial prowess. Just like being back in Norwich.
The day was completed by what I understand is a Nottingham University ritual i.e the consumption of ice cream before departing for home.
As an added bonus, on the return journey, I spotted a Red Kite lazily drifting across open fields.
Thanks must go to Janet for expertly organising the trip and to Will and Chris for leading the guided walks.
All in all a thoroughly enjoyable day with some bonus birdwatching thrown in.
Monday evening saw an excellent turnout of members comfortably ensconced in the cosy surroundings of the Garden Room at Caistor Hall Hotel. The work covered during the past year and the plans for the next three years, subject to the outcome of our HLF bid, were summarised by Alan, Andrew, Mike.
Alan explained the formalisation of our relationship with the Norfolk Archaeological Trust and what this entitled us to, not least of which were copies of their three excellent guide books.
Andrew gave an overview of the groups finances and offered printed copy. He emphasised that any HLF funding precludes such overheads as the barn rental and insurance meaning that we are required to continue fund raising even if the bid is successful.
Mike reported that the result of the HLF bid was imminent and stressed that in the event of an unsuccessful outcome there was a Plan B in place.
Gwen summarised progress with the reconstituted field walking programme and encouraged members to come forward to act as back ups to the current Team Leaders.
Thanks to Val, hot off the press was our very first Annual Report, further testimony as to how far we have traveled as a group since we began this journey some ten years ago. Sue Harman had not only registered the fact that we had reached this momentous milestone but had also baked one of her lovely cakes to mark the occasion. This was very much appreciated by all who partook of a slice or three!
Will outlined what we have learned from our work so far including the developing story of the Anglo-Saxon presence in and around Caistor. He stressed that in AD409, the date now favoured for the end of Roman rule in Britain, no one apart from members of the military actually left Britain. However the dating evidence previously provided by coins and pottery seems to disappear in the early 5th Century leaving a dearth of evidence of precisely what is going on during this period. Hopefully our work in the coming years will add further to the story of Caistor’s evolution through to the arrival on the scene of it’s upstart neighbour, otherwise known as Norwich.
A copy of the Annual Report, three guide books and extra cake to take home. Not bad for one evening!
Let’s start with the good news:
Two days of unbroken weather. A first for this year!
Lovely spot close to the river.
Congenial hosts who kept us liberally supplied with tea, coffee, juice and chocolate biscuits.
Some lovely chickens who kept us company throughout the two days.
Now for the Test pit itself. Hopes were not high given the location in what was clearly once the farm-yard. We even moved it following advice from the owner, owing to the extent of disturbance due to building work.
As it transpired it probably made little or no difference, other than to create a bit more work for Keith and John who had to re-visit on the Friday to re-plot the Test Pit location. Thanks for that guys. As to the contents of the Test Pit itself this was made up of what appeared to be two layer of rubble separated by a layer of dark silty material that may have been deposited by flooding incident. The upper of the two layers presented a compacted stoney surface that had the look of a rough yard surface about it. The rubble comprised a mix of brick, concrete, barbed wire, plastic, baler twine, and assorted lumps of iron. One complete brick was conveniently stamped “Central Brick Company Type 19 Whittlesea”
We did however recover a number of small globules of melted glass and the odd sherd of pottery so perhaps all is not lost.
Thanks to the team for making it an enjoyable two days with an additional thanks to Caroline for tackling the paperwork with such enthusiasm and to Jane for having a first go at the photography.