Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Back from Hols

Just got back from a family holiday to the highlands of Scotland.

This included a 2 day trip to Orkney, during which we visited some great sites, including these standing stones at Stromness:

The pictures show Wendy, my oldest son Edward and our dog Lulu.

My other boy William was so underwhelmed that he sat in the car and played on his Nintendo DS.

We also visited Skara Brae, which was superb (despite having nothing to do with the Romans!).

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Malton Field School

I am now back from 3 weeks at the Malton / Langton field school. I only took a few pics of the Roman Fortress because I was usually far too hard at work (yeah right) or laughing at a wise crack from Tim or Tim:

Tim Web pretending he knows how to use the total station

Tim still pretending he knows how to use the total station.

Having convinced himself what to do, Tim now instructs Katy (BTW a rare picture of her without a games console in her hands)
From left to right: Laura, Mat, Katy and Anne. This was the hut we used to drink tea and eat our nasty self-prepared sandwiches. It was in an estate yard right next to the field we were working in.

Top: Tim Horsley - our Geophysics Guru squating in the filth in the corner of our lunch hut with his beloved lap top.

Bottom: Tim H and Laura setting out a Geophysics grid as a precursor to a spot of Resistivity measuring. You can't see Tim's bull whip - but trust me, its there somewhere.

  • Complete Geo-physical survey of Orchard field and the walled garden. The latter had never been surveyed before. Results are pending but provisionally the magnetometry and Resistivity from the site look really good.

  • We successfully ran a 1 week field school for over 30 kids from Rydale Gifted and Talented Program

  • Enhanced my knowledge of Geophysical surveying, Field school management & planning
  1. Met some really interesting people. Bone and the two Tims were great fun as were all the undergrads - Katy, Mat, Laura & Anne

  2. Some great evening talks organised by Bone

  3. The field trips were great and I learnt a lot from them (can't get the thought of elephants and lions roaming around Yorkshire out of my head)

  4. Bone (Dr Andrew Jones) in full cry during a field trip. The team are suitably gripped...

  5. Survived the archaeology training sessions with the kids..............just!
  6. Survived the accomodation at Langton School..............just!

I'm looking forward to seeing the Geophysics results from Tim H. and I am looking forward to going back and doing some more next year.

Many thanks to everyone who was there, for making the 3 weeks so enjoyable.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Roman Archaeology Conference 2007

I'm just back from the RAC / TRAC 2007, held at University College London / Birkbeck College.

I had a really good time. Quite apart from all the new information I picked up, it was good to immerse myself in such an accademic cauldron. It really motivated me to crack on with my research.

The timing worked out really well for me, as I was running a training course in London from Monday to Thursday. The conference started Thursday evening, so I rushed across town, checked into a new hotel, hastily registered for the conference and attended an opening lecture at the British museum on Thursday evening.

This was my first significant conference and rather than waffling on about it, I thought I would compile a quick list of do's and don'ts:


1. Expect to feel like 'billy no mates' for a while if you come on your own
2. Make sure you wear your name badge (even if the name on it is wrong!) so that people don't keep forgetting who you are, when you speak to them
3. Go and see the leading authorities in the field speak. On the whole they were the most engaging people to listen to. In any case, it's great to come face to face with people you've been reading for years.
4. Keep an open mind. Some of the topics were far more interesting than the abstract suggested (and vice versa)!
5. Get to the lunch time buffet quickly - some of those accademics are very greedy ..


1. Get annoyed when people wander in and out of papers all day (I was suprised by how rude people were in this regard). It just raises your blood pressure and won't stop it happening.
2. Expect eveyone to prepare their papers properly. The majority of speakers looked down most of the time and read from notes (often very quickly and quietly). The better ones avoided this and came across so much better.
3. Worry if someone you are speaking to checks your name badge while you are waxing lyrical. They just want to see if you are a 'Dr' or better before they decide whether you are worth listening to
4. Sit in the front row of the Harrie Massey lecture theatre if you are more than 5' tall, or you will lose the use of your knees for 24 hours.
5. Stay in the Euston Square hotel, unless you are lulled to sleep by constant and noisy traffic.

Friday, 23 March 2007

Attempts to create a 3D view of a Legionary Fortress

I have spent many HOURS messing about with a free version of Sketch-up, trying to create some features of Legionary fortresses. Here are some 2D stills from my attempts. I do find it useful to attempt this as a 3-d tour around these buildings gives you a totally different perspective.

View from outside Main Gates

Overview of Principia building

View from inside main gate up the Via Praetoria, showing a Granary to the left and the Principia in the distance

View inside Principia building, towards the Legionary Shrine.

Plan view showing principal gates, streets and zones.

I think the speed of my laptop has made this harder than it should be as it always seems to lag behind mouse clicks and so things keep going wrong (I know a bad workman..)

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Fame and Glory - the media decend on me again...

'Extra Extra Read all about it - Greg digs at West Halton'

Rumours hit Fleet Street (well Scunthorpe) that I was appearing live at West Halton, and so the paparazzi swooped. It was actually the reporter from the Scunthorpe Telegraph, but I'm not proud.

As you can see (if you look very carefully) I appear in all the excavation pictures except one (not sure how I missed that one). Clearly the media were captivated by my charisma and my trowel action.

Interviews, autographs, film contracts ... are just some of the things I would have been prepared to agree to. But the chap from the Scunthorpe Telegraph was called away to an important item on a giant marrow and so couldn't spare the time.

Even so, when we picked up our copies of the paper, I don't think the others were too impressed to see that I was clearly the most photogenic person on the dig.

Young people today - they just don't look smart enough do they?

Before and After (actually after and before)

A Student Again

Here is my current Student card, with a rather grainy digital photo and my first NUS card from 1982.

Okay okay so hair has clearly become more of an issue (thank goodness there is no 'beergut' photo requirement).

But otherwise I think I look as youthful as I did when a mere 18 year old stripling.