Monday, 12 May 2014

Not quite Dorchester

At the end of last month several of the Dorchester team decided they had had enough of the English winter, and so opted to swap rain coats for sun hats, packed up their trowels, and flew off to spend four weeks excavating in Southern India! The temperature change proved quite a shock to the system, going from c. 12°C in the UK, to 33°C and very high humidity in Kerala. We were working on a project exploring the ancient past of a village called Pattanam, which has tentatively been linked with the port of Muziris, mentioned in various ancient texts including Pliny's Historia Naturalis. You can read a press release about the excavation, run in partnership between the Kerala Council for Historical Research and the University of Oxford, here, and you can read about a lecture that Professor Chris Gosden, one of the Directors of the Dorchester Project, gave whilst we were out there, here.

We had an excellent time getting acquainted with some highly intriguing archaeology - some things were very recognisable, including Roman amphorae and intaglios; most things were obviously very very new to us. This included not only the finds, but also several aspects of the excavation methodology, and in particular the different tools used! (At times we did dream about good old one-wheeled wheel barrows...).

Pattanam 2014 Excavation Team (looking rather clean!)

You can see some of the amazing 360° photographs of the Pattanam trenches taken by the Archaeology Institute's photographer, Ian Cartwright, here (and if you go down far enough, you will also come across some of his 360° photographs of Dorchester!).

Fortunately we didn't manage to lose anyone to poisonous snakes, so we still have a full contingent of supervisors for this summer. And on the note of this summer, there are just 3 places left for the second week of the public field school (20th - 25th July), and none at all in the first, so if you're interested in coming you really do not have long left to sign up! Once they're gone, they're gone.

As ever, if you are interested, or have any questions, please email