Day 1

12 Aug

Welcome back to the Caistor dig season. We’re back and set up in the field to the south of the Roman town. Setting up the dig always involves a dangerous combination of panic and heavy plant but all goes according to plan.

The nice people from A-Plant and May Gurney arrive with truckloads of great kit which as ever they are supplying free of charge and making the project much better equipped than it might otherwise be. James from May Gurney also keeps up the excellent practice of bringing May Gurney sponsored biscuits. Truly they are a fine company and we can strongly recommend them for all your major infrastructure projects.

Unfortunately the A-Plant trucks can’t get through the gate, which is a bit tight. As several lorries back up on a blind bend someone comes up with the excellent idea of removing the gate. Fortunately we have a 20 ton machine on site and can pluck the gate post and fence out like a giant picking up a tooth-pick (more original similes gratefully accepted). Getting it back in, however, will be like the same giant pushing a Swiss roll into a keyhole, but we’ll cross that bridge later.

Speaking of bridges, the 20 ton machine was on site courtesy of BAM Nuttall who were using it to put a temporary bridge in place across the River Tas so we could dig holes in the field across the river. Like the grass longed for by the billy goats gruff, the archaeology looked particularly tasty on the other side of the river, so we’re going to dig there (thanks to the Norfolk Archaeological Trust who have managed to buy the field). So the lovely Heather, who is afraid only of bananas, persuaded the lovely BAM Nuttall to put a temporary bridge in, which they did with great efficiency.

Heather and the boys from BAM Nuttall after successful bridge erection

Keeping up the corporate help theme, Wendy arrives in a van lent by Anglian Home Improvements, which is used throughout the week to ferry kit from the project barn. Gradually the camp takes shape, organised by Chrissy (previously known to blog readers as supplier of the more interesting photographs), with Gwen supervising the erection of the mighty marquee. This goes up with much more success than Per’s tent. His efforts suggest that tent erection needs to be introduced to the curriculum at the University of Nottingham fairly sharpish.

The farce that was the erection of Per’s tent

Meanwhile the trenches are being machined, with Peter the driver sculpting them into things of great beauty while Steve plucks treasures from the soil with his detector before we machine them all out. As ever, nighthawks should be aware that we’ve had the good stuff so they can take their night vision goggles and crawl back into their holes.

So we’re good to go. It’s been a sterling effort on the part of the team to get the site set up. Now all we have to do is find something.

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