The Shades and the sun


Sun, fields and a pig on a funeral pyre. What fun: mobile phone photos
The last day of the British Festival of Archaeology was marked in grand fashion at St Fagan's yesterday. With the sun, a welcome visitor after its absence the past fortnight, beaming, my morning was occupied up at Llandeilo constructing a funeral pyre. We'd put together the base the night before, but had to layer it up to about four foot, while members of staff went about faggoting in the nearby woods. And all in all I think a good job was made of it, considering that it both caught and didn't immediately burn itself out. The manner in which the flesh and fat liquefied and burnt off to expose the specimen's skull, teeth and other bones, as well as the resilience of the pottery to the intensity to the flames.

The Vicus did an excellent job of making a piece of experimental archaeology into a crowd drawing event. And talking to intrigued members of the public who stopped by later in the day, there was a lot of interest in the purpose of the experiment. Hopefully it have proved illuminating on the mode of deposition, and it has already seemed to have spurred an entire upcoming series of similar pyre events, testing different hypotheses.

Also, the Vicus put on a great show with their Britons and Romans military demo, its great to see those shields really crashing.

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