Back in the mud again

Muddy gloves, boots and trowel

The annual Whitehall Roman Villa dig started today. It’s good to see old friends, meet new people and get muddy together as we unearth more evidence of what it was like to live in Northamptonshire under Roman rule.

Jeremy Cooper’s doing a blog on the dig website. This enables people who aren’t there to see what’s going on and those of us who are to find out what it is we’re actually doing. When you’re head down in a trench, it’s sometimes hard to tell.

Click here to find out more about the Open Day on Sunday 12 July.

9 thoughts on “Back in the mud again

  1. Gosh, I thought for a moment those were a pair of perfectly preserved still-bloody severed hands extracted from an anaerobic layer – something for Ruso to investigate. Then I looked again.

    I hope the excavation goes well!

  2. Thank you for your work in the blog. I find the articles most interesting. I am a regular reader of your site.

    I am commenting because once again (re. wellies) my vocabulary has been enhanced as a result of visiting your site. I clicked the hot link to Jeremy Cooper’s blog which I also found quite interesting. Under the picture of Day 3 of 20 the caption explains that Fred is holding a “brollie”. I could see by the picture that a brollie must be an umbrella. Before writing this, I looked up the word to make sure it wasn’t a word that I should really know, my geographic handicap not withstanding. The online dictionaries say that brollie (brolly) is chiefly an informal British word. What fun. The good people of Great Britain have such a colorful and delightful way of expressing themselves. I surely hope to visit some day the land of Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, etc. etc, etc.. There must be something in the water over there that accounts for so many great writers.

    Your friend from Oregon,
    Phil Hall

  3. Thanks for dropping by, Phil. There’s a distinct wet-weather theme to this, don’t you think?

    I once entertained the staff of an American youth hostel by asking if it was likely to rain today. Our family were about to set out on a bike ride and were having the usual British ‘shall we take our coats?’ debate. Evidently this is a question they don’t often hear in San Francisco in August!

    Surely you have some Oregon words you could pass on?


  4. …speaking of which, we’ve just watched Episode 1 of The Wire for the third time and I think we’ve finally figured out what they’re talking about. Do they speak a different language in Baltimore?

  5. Ah yes. Whoever said that Britain and the United States are divided by a common language was correct. As far as predicting rain in Oregon, if you live to the west of the Cascade Mountains, it’s likely to rain, to the east, it isn’t. I grew up in Oregon (pronounced orrygun not o re GON) I don’t recall any unusual words. I like to read the British news sites. I almost always have to look up a word (especially slang) in an article.

    I just finished Medicus. My neighbor had turned me on to Roman fiction. We started out with Roberts’ Decius, Saylor’s Gordianus, to Scarrow’s Cato and Macro (several books in Roman Britain) and now Medicus. I especially appreciate your British wit. e.g. “… like a wife waiting for you to notice she was sulking.” It wasn’t fair for Penguin to put the first four chapters of the second book on the web. Now we can hardly wait to get it.

    1. Ah, those marketing people at Penguin are very cunning!

      Thanks for getting in touch, Bob. What a great neighbour you must have. I’m a Simon Scarrow fan too, and have you discovered Lindsey Davis yet?

      So many books, so little time…

  6. Skookum. You asked if there were words particular to Oregon. Skookum belongs to Oregon – Washington, the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. One would heare it mosty in rural areas (such as where I live). When something is skookum it means that the something is good or first class. When someone is skookum it means that they are good, but can also mean that they are reliable and hard working.

    For example: Those Russo books are skookum. Ms. Downing is skookum.

    There is a rather large, interesting, colorul and fun vocabulary associated with loggers and the logging industry. Before retiring I was a professional forester and worked in the woods for many years (before I became tied to a desk).

    Phil Hall

  7. Skookum! Wonderful. It’s going to be my word of the day, Phil.

    Don’t think it will fit into a Ruso novel though…

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