Friday, March 25, 2016

Things Long Lost

My annual archaeology sojourn to the north of England approaches.  Soon I will be troweling away at history, either in the Roman fort of Vindolanda or in the associated civilian settlement adjacent to it.

Over the years I have found many interesting things.

But there are prizes that have eluded me thus far.  I have a wish list, things I hope to find.  I don't think it is really bad luck to mention them, I probably in any event used up a couple of seasons worth of saucy winks from the Goddess Fortuna last year when I found a partial writing tablet.

But here's my list for what good or bad luck it will bring me.

I want to find a sestertius.  These big, impressive bronze coins are not exactly scarce, they have come up on either side of me over the years.  Coins are such a personal artifact.  Somebody was planning on buying a goblet of wine or a roasted chicken with this bit of metal.  They probably uttered some phrases never taught in school Latin when they reached into their purse and found it gone.  I have found smaller bronze coins, even a couple of silver ones.  But just for a moment, I want one of these:

I would like to find a shoe.  Down in the deep layers these turn up regularly. The archaeologists grumble a bit as each one costs 30 dollars to conserve and they have lots of them.  But again, its the personal touch.

An inscription would be nice.  If you find a nice one the management will give you a bottle of champagne.  That I don't care much for but a well earned pint would not be refused.  This is one I have not come close on, although every time you get ready to flip over a flattish stone you do hope a bit.  And give the clinging dirt a quick hopeful swipe.

Ok, a six foot tall dedication stone might be a bit too much to hope for.

But how about a roof tile with paw prints?  In this regard I would not even be picky.  Sure I like dogs better than cats but either would be great to find preserved in 1800 year old clay.

Vindolanda excavations begin on Monday.  It won't be many weeks now before my daily dig reports resurface.

And even if I don't find things on my wish list its always a good time.

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