The last day of excavation has come and gone (quite a while ago, actually, my apologies for the delay). Since I was unable to be on site for the last day one of the volunteers, Jayne O’Connell, has been kind enough to send me an update and provide me with photos.
Day 14 definitely had better weather than the day before, and thankfully did not involve as much mud, or as much standing around watching a select few try to work. The day was given over to finishing touches – cleaning, photographing, and recording. Despite this the team still managed to reveal yet another wall! The paved floor received a final cleaning, and along with the column/statue base/altar that had received a good bath the day before, succeeded in making the trench look quite stunning.
One of the main projects of the day was completing more of the drawing. This included an incredibly massive section drawing of the west section of the trench, which tells the story of the site so beautifully.
As always there was a fair bit of discussion on site. It being the last day the talk was turned to next year’s excavation. A wall was discovered in one of the smaller trenches on the west side of the site that seems to head off in the direction of the villa. This led the group’s collective imagination to produce a set of grand stairs running down from the villa and towards the bath house. Investigating any possible path from the villa to the bath house, however, would mean putting a trench in behind the tent and deck chairs that have been on site, in the same spot, for the past four years. It would also mean moving into the woods and facing the challenge of digging through tree root.
The last day of an excavation like Truckle Hill is always somewhat melancholy. Along with the excitement of imaging next year’s excavation and new discoveries goes the task of saying goodbye to the people and the site, at least until the next excavation. At the end of this season this holds particularly true, as it is unlikely that there will be an excavation on the site of the bath-house again. Rather than give you my thoughts on this, I would like to share Jayne’s.
"I felt great sadness on the last day that we wouldn't be digging at the bath-house again, but I suppose, other than digging that one last trench up the hill behind the tent, we have probably learnt all we could about the site. Now we need to conserve it and make sure those glorious walls remain intact.
I have always found it really hard to leave the site on the last day of the dig, it’s such a beautiful, calm, relaxing place. It was very tough to say goodbye to the site this time maybe because I know we won't (I assume) be digging there in September 2011. I had the most wonderful time, even though most days Shaun and I just seemed to be shifting rubble all day and not finding anything. It’s the camaraderie, discussions about this site and many others, that makes it such a special dig."
The excavation at Truckle Hill is indeed special. I cannot end this blog without thanking all of the volunteers for their hard work, dedication and enthusiasm. It is their hard work that has made learning so much about this site over the past four years achievable. You all form one very incredible team!
Though this is the last blog post for the Truckle Hill Autumn 2010 excavation, it will not be the last blog or update concerning Truckle Hill. If you are interested in keeping up with what happens after the excavation please keep returning to this site. The site report for this year will eventually be available here, and I will continue to provide updates as more work gets completed.