Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Archaeology in the rain....

Well, I guess yesterday with an utter downpour from lunchtime through to 7pm wasn't the time to enthuse my partner Val and her sister in archaeological sites.
We'd just left Portland Bill in heavy rain where they both spent some very happy childhood years (including lunch in the Lobster Pot but they no longer serve "Hubbly Bubbly" to drink) when I slammed the anchors on the car and stuck it into reverse. I hadn't noticed it on the way down there but there was a mesolithic site, Culverwell, on out way back.

Culverwell mesolithic settlement

A small settlement site, now just a series of grassy mounds, from c.5-6,000 years BC was evidence of a semi sedentry life, living off seafood in early Britain.

We continued on to Weymouth and the rain continued to pound. Having driven along the seafront I took my captive passengers to a small Roman temple site on the eastern edge of town, located on Jordan Hill.

Weymouth Roman temple

There is little, other than the foundations of the interior structure of the shrine, that is visible on the hill but the sea views are impressive and also this would have been clearly visible from the sea . Sadly this was not the day to appreciate them. There is no information as to whom the temple was dedicated but given the position Neptune (for the sea) or Mercury (for trade) would not be out of place.

The final treat for my passengers was a visit to the Cerne Abbas giant.

The "Giant" through the rain

The figure, carved into the hillside, was only just visible given the appaling weather. Naked (apart from sheep), and holding a club (with a "cloak" still uncovered on the other arm) the figure looks like a crude representation of Hercules. The date does prove something of a conundrum. Some postulate it is Roman or sub Roman, whilst others suggest it is of a much later date, 17th century perhaps, being first recorded in documents of 1694.