Truckle Hill Bath-House is located in a quiet, peaceful valley on the side of a hill. It is a particularly serene location first thing in the morning when you arrive, and last thing in the evening as we pack up our kit. I prefer the morning arrival; after hiking down the valley through the woods, you are greeted with “Good Morning. Would you like a cup of tea?” Today started slowly with a nice chat about the previous day of excavation, mixed in with chatting about nothing in particular. Mornings are very civilized out at Truckle Hill - as are morning breaks, lunch, and afternoon tea. The beginning of all of the above is signaled by the whistle of a kettle.
As people slowly drift off into the trenches I received a detailed up-date on the previous day’s activities from one of the volunteers. A few pieces of tesserae, a very nicely carved stone, and the hint of a wall lying under some rubble have been uncovered. The goal of the day is to continue searching for the forecourt walls and for a match to the column base that was uncovered during one of the previous years of excavation. The entire base has never been entirely exposed. Two people are working to completely expose the column base and the surrounding area.
As the day continued we started to experience a strange anomaly out at Truckle Hill. During tea breaks and lunch people would start to disappear. These disappearances were followed by the slight sound of a scraping trowel drifting up from the main trench. Someone really didn’t want to stop digging today, and kept sneaking off during breaks to continue working!
During the day a number of interesting items were recovered, including a piece of melted glass, some very nicely faced pieces of stone from a rubble pile, and the site’s first large piece of CBM (ceramic building material). The most interesting revelation of the day, however, was the completely exposed column base... which suddenly did not look so much like a column base any more. Seeing the large stone blocks exposed for the first time, the column base whose pair we have been searching for, now looks more likely to be an altar. During the next few days of excavation volunteers will continue to reveal features of the possible forecourt in this area, and now attempt to clarify the identity of the base – column or altar?