Alex has a plum assignment for his Year 10 Work Experience next week. He’s working on the Roman Life Project – the excavation at Silchester. I needed to go along to find out where I needed to take him every day next week, plus they very conveniently had an open day today, so we headed off first thing to check it all out.
It was quite a windy drive through the country lanes, but we finally arrived at the car park. You then walk about 700 metres down a path to get to the excavation site. Bearing in mind I wanted to be an archaeologist until I was about 15 (at which point I realised it involved hours of patience and frustration and decided I’d probably be better suited to something else) arriving at the excavation at Silchester was incredible. I wish I had taken photographs when we arrived, but frankly I was so blown away by everything I was seeing I totally forgot! For me, it was like the scene in one of the Indiana Jones films where they arrive on the excavation site near the pyramids, with all the walkways above it. It was completely overwhelming. You can look down on the remains of a city circa 60 or 70 AD, with everyone working on slowly brushing away the sands of time, to reveal bits of walls, wells, kitchen implements and the stuff of day to day life 2000 years ago.
They were offering tours of the site, which we took advantage of, and there were also various displays of artefacts which made it very interesting. It did rain at one point, but that didn’t stop us all looking round and absorbing the atmosphere. It was incredible. Alex is going to love next week.
I’m amazed we have such an incredible example of history so close to us. The Roman Wall that surrounds the area is incredibly well preserved, and you see bits of it as you drive through the surrounding villages. To think, we’ve got an example of something so historic, so very close to us. And to think that Alex gets to spend a week there, immersing himself in that amazing history. Wow!
To find out more about the University of Reading’s excavation at Silchester (this is their 12th summer there!), click here. The picture on the page you see first is what confronted us at close range when we arrived. Incredible!