In the summer of 2001, I joined the University of Bradford’s Anglo-American Project in Pompeii, working on a dig in Regio VI, Insula I of the ancient city. The purpose of this dig was to investigate the functionary evolution of structures and spaces in the centuries before the 79 AD eruption, while refining our knowledge of artifact preservation, eco-fact analysis, stratigraphic archeological methods, and electronic distance measuring (those funny, bright orange machines people use on the side of the highway). I predominantly worked in AA (Archeological Area) 163 and AA 170, drawing walls, sifting dirt, filling in countless Soil Sample Sheets, drawing more walls – all of this quite naturally being a ripe opportunity for fun!
I’ve scanned a few pages from my trench journal, some highlights being the discovery of AA 170’s cistern (Drawing 1), an overhead view of AA 170’s trough/drain feature (Drawing 2), and AA 170 Wall #19’s surprising combination of opus incertum and opus mixtum! (Drawing 3)
Drawing 5 not only includes AA 164’s highly fascinating Wall #44, but also an illustration of Trench Supervisor Amy (that is her given name) doing her best to collapse it. Dodgy!
Drawing 6 was completed soon after we discovered Pot Henge, the nickname we gave a circular formation of pottery shards unearthed in the middle of AA 170. From Drawing 4, I now believe that summer was the start of my “Or so the Aliens would have us believe…” period in archeological theory and methodology, as evidenced by my drawn reconstruction of Pot Henge and its surrounding features… as an extra-terrestrial bathing ground for weary visitors to our planet – complete with Alien frigidarium, tepidarium, and calidarium, not to mention the little Pompeii-Alien sex murals adorning the walls.
Several years down the road, these notions would prove a roadblock in completing my degree in Near Eastern Studies. But while in Pompeii, at least I had the foresight to have world renowned Archeozoology Specialist Dr. Andrew “Bones” Jones (from the dig’s website: His areas of special interest include fish in the diet and culture of ancient Pompeii, and dietary reconstruction from latrine deposits) certify my theories. In a resounding tone of approval, Drawing 4 reveals what the good Doctor thought of my speculative reconstruction:
“This is what I think Pot Henge was used for – and why it exists today!”
Or so the Aliens would have us believe….