Mar. 28th, 2010

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Someone has decided that it is spring; dunno why. But the farmer has been out ploughing, so today was fieldwalking. Raking through the dustbin of history. Looking for the broken things the Romans threw away.

It is hard to explain. It is certainly not treasure hunting. It is about knowledge; and maybe a brief connection with those who tried to subdue this land 2000 years ago. Actually, they did not try very hard. This place did not have a lot going for it even then, and standing in torrential rain, and being sandblasted by hailstones this afternoon, I am surprised the Romans hung around as long as they did.

Me and the guys (I'm choosing that as grammar today) had a good day though. We found pieces of pale blue fluted glass, the broken handle of some long gone water jug; shattered pieces of decorated samian- ware, shipped over from France or Spain; pottery from an amphora which once held wine brought in from Italy; pottery from what may have been the roof tiles on the bath-house; and even a piece of mottled window glass.

These guys lived in style at a time when officially my people did not. But I think the lines between "these guys" and "my people" are very blurred. Officially, serving Roman soldiers were not allowed wives. But I know damn well, you put 500 fit young men with their own food supply, and a carry-out of wine, into an area, and I bet my X-times great-grandmother was climbing over the ramparts with the best of them. Doubt if the fondness for wine is confined to this generation.

Anyway, it was a good afternoon and we found a lot. Could have found more, but heading back uphill for the last time with about a stone of clay attached to each boot, if I had seen the Holy Grail in my path I would have quietly kicked it out the way rather than fiddle with satellite co-ordinates and a waterlogged pen once more.

And now I have the washing up to do......millennia of muck to be scrubbed off each tiny piece...but not tonight. My own bath-house and a glass of wine beckon.  


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