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A room of my own
but will probably be even more boring than usual.

As many of you know I've been flirting with FB recently, but I'm so shocked by how little of my life I can remember and by my propensity to waste time that I really ought to keep a record of what I'm doing.

Feel free to ignore.
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I never get notifications from lj unless someone's commented on something I've written. And I haven't written anything for ages.

So why is my inbox constantly being flooded by notifications about the virtual gifts that other people have been receiving?

Attempting to make me jealous isn't the way to encourage me back.

Erm. There may be a failure of logic there on my part.

Bah humbug anyway.
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I fell for one of these phishing scams not so long ago on another account, though in the end no harm seems to have been done. Although there were repeated attempts at the same thing on that bank account, I hadn't seen any others. Today, however, I cleared out my spam folder and found one telling me my access to my Egg account was suspended (didn't know I had one) and this one which rather gives itself away even in this day and age of bad English. Glad to know they hold my account in such esteem, though.

"Abbey National plc. has been receiving complaints from our customers for unauthorized use of the Abbey Online accounts. As a result we periodically review Abbey Online Accounts and temporarily restrict access of those accounts which we think are venerable to the unauthorized use."
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I spent yesterday afternoon excavating another baby burial. I came across the fragmented skull last weekend, right up against the corner of the building I've been working in. We couldn't make out at the time exactly what it was (other than a skull) - site director thought it was probably a dog. Anyway, having realised that I was in danger of digging a hole in the corner (we don't dig holes, we dig layers) I spent the first part of the day bringing the rest of the area down to the same level before going back to work on my "dog". I knew there were some other bones in the area, so I went very carefully, just in case I had an articulated skeleton. It took me a while to work out why this canine didn't make sense and things weren't quite where I was expecting them! A dog, you'd expect to be laid on its side, of course, and first I got a second scapula where I wasn't expecting it and then a pelvis completely in the wrong place. It was only when I stood back and looked at the whole thing that I realised I had an infant lying on its back. Duh. And the piece of odd shaped skull that we couldn't make out last week was suddenly, obviously the top of one orbit. I think I need to go on an osteology course. This one was much bigger than the last, a neonate, I'd guess. So I knelt there and talked to it while I exposed its little bones and wondered what had happened to it and how it had ended up there. I think we're going to leave it there and re-bury it in situ.

That corner's problematic, though. When I first found the skull, it seem too high up - above the floor level I was working down towards. I then found an adjacent area of crushed tile. The site director (from top of trench)  told me this was render off the wall which didn't seem right to me, especially as I'd already found fallen painted wall plaster  above this. Having dug a bit more, I then suggested that the floor level might be raised in that area - after Albert had got in and dug around a bit he went with that one. The odd thing is that this degraded op sig floor, if that's what it is (frankly I still have my doubts) seems to be above the level of the rendering on the wall, so it looks like an alteration - the raising of the floor level and insertion of the burial into it. But even so, the burial's ever so superficial. Perhaps it was a termination deposit, placed there when the building was abandoned. Otherwise, one can imagine practical problems.

I'm not there for two weeks now. Perhaps all will be clear when I get back!
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Well, I should post on more serious things, really, but I have to say that having caught up with the last two episodes of Torchwood this morning I'm feeling rather drained. And glad Livi didn't watch it.
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Exams (ASs, GCSEs and Senior School entrance) now over thank goodness. Livi somehow did well enough to get into top set for everything in senior School (what could she achieve if she actually put any effort in, I wonder?)  As for the others, we just have to wait and see.

On Wednesday I took Ellie for the open day at Royal Holloway  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Holloway,_University_of_London my own (original) alma mater. Apart from falling in love with the place, which she'd already done on paper, it was useful in making her mind up that she wants to go down the modern languages route, rather than History. Trouble is now that she's spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding precisely which programme to apply for, between straight languages (and which to take), European Studies and Comparative Literature, all of which can be combined in multifarious ways.

It was great to see the place again. I loved it back in the day and the facilities there are fantastic now. It would be my number one choice (they don't do archaeology, BTW, which is why I didn't think of going back myself) and, given a fair wind on the M25, it only takes an hour to get there.

Last weekend I spent at the Association for Roman Archaeology's conference on Roman Villas at the British Museum. It was an interesting weekend, where I was glad to find one other person I knew and via them met a very nice postgrad from UCL who lives in Tonbridge and who is researching villas (not in Kent, so we won't overlap) but will be a good person to keep in contact with. I have one or potentially two (as yet unconfirmed) invitations to speak at conferences as a result of the weekend, too, which is a result.

On the Sunday I walked to and from the BM from Charing Cross, starting out with the sound of the bells of St Martin in the Fields and retracing the route I used to take when I lived in Bloomsbury. I love that area. It was so quiet, except for a fair sprinkling of cafes and restaurants open, (literally - it was a beautiful day and everyone was out on the street) with it's interesting little niche shops and narrow streets. I haven't really been there for years and it's the one place in London I'd happily live.


I think I must have told you when I did my catch up at the end of last summer about how I lost my rings on the last day I was digging at Sittingbourne. You'll never guess what... (well, you will, now)

Yesterday, I'd been digging around for a suitable bra to lend Imi to wear under a dress with a problematic back design. I'd made such a mess that I started pulling everything out to make some kind of sense of it all when I suddenly spotted a ring at the bottom of the drawer. I didn't recognise it at first, pulled it out and it was my engagement ring! So I pulled out more and there was my five-stone one as well, nestling under all the stuff that I don't really wear and had gravitated to the bottom of my underwear drawer.

At the time I just couldn't explain how they disappeared. I still don't understand the mechanism by which they got there. But I've found them.  There are just two problems. One is exactly how I wear them now that I have a solitaire replacement (which actually goes far better with my wedding ring!) and the other is who gets them. At least now there's one each, but there was a lot of banter last night between the two younger girls (Ellie being at school) about who would inherit which!

As to my future, I had a brief flirtation with the idea of applying for a funded Phd at UCL/BM 
which in some ways would be right up my street, would give me a set of marketable skills and would be fantastic from the POV of contacts.

Anyway, it brought things into sharp focus for me and I suddenly woke up one day realising how much I wanted to stay where I was and do my own research. So I took in the form accepting the offer from Kent.

I suppose in the end the answer to the frustration of being asked when I tell people that I'm from UoK (as I was yet again this weekend) "Is that the same as Canterbury?" is to contribute towards putting the place more firmly on the map.
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A beautiful day again.

I've been digging as usual on a Sunday. No coins today. This time it was a baby. Or possibly babies. Very small, pre-term. I'm afraid I mistook the bones for the remains of a chicken dinner at first, but I'm assured they were human. They were in the right place, anyway, right up against the foundations of the building. It's very common to find infant burials under the floors of roman buildings. Possibly atropopaic, possibly because young infants weren't regarded as completely human and therefore weren't entitled to formal burial rights. They certainly weren't subject to the law about not burying bodies within towns.

I've done some work in the garden the last few days, beginning to plant out veg and continuing to work on the herbaceous beds. Lots more to do.

Must go and wash the mud off!
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I had a lovely day digging yesterday. A few heavy showers in the morning, but most of the day oK, quite warm at times and nice and sheltered down in the room we're excavating. Early in the day the detectorist found a really nice coin on the spoil heap. I was so pleased for him - I still felt guilty about the one I found. We had a good look at it and I more or less identified it (not that everyone would believe me) - I actually confirmed it today in the library (Valens, 4th century, minted in Arles).


In the afternoon, I was busy clearing out backfill from a trench that had been dug last season, when what did I find but another one! Almost identical but more worn, so I haven't been able to confirm that one. I have now found 1/6 of the coins from the entire site and 1/3 of the ones from this building!

One of the other trenches now has quite a sizeable chunk of painted wall plaster exposed. It was supposed to be an outside wall. Evidently not.
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Funnily enough I'd also been intending to write something on the fat issue raised by catlily .

My take is a litle different because obviously I'm not intending to up my animal fat intake, but I was sufficiently alarmed by last week's Food Programme www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qnx3 to start looking at the fats in my own diet.

Although I am very unfit and (though not overweight) somewhat apple shaped, with the wrong proportions for heart health, I had been comforting myself with the fact that my diet was high in polyunsaturates and that my cholesterol intake was next to nothing. Vegetarianism is good for you, no?

Well all this stuff about the proprtions of Omega 6 and Omega 3 was news to me. As a vegan, my Omega 3 levels are likely to be low; I hadn't realised I was compounding this by the relatively large amount of Omega 6-bearing polyunsaturates in my diet.

The good thing is that I use a lot of olive oil. The bad thing is that for baking, spreading and frying anything that will take quantities that make olive oil a luxury,  I use sunflower.

Now haven't sunflower oil and sunflower spreads been sold to us for years as a healthy alternative? Hmm. There are very few vegan butter-alternatives out there. Some dairy substitute spreads aren't even veggie (who would expect to find gelatine in Flora extra light?). I've been using Pure sunflower spread, because I like it and because I've tended to avoid too much soya, partly because I wasn't sure at first that I tolerated some forms very well and partly because I'm concerned about the environmental issues caused by the massive scale of soya farming. Similarly I've tended to avoid using rapeseed (canola) oil because I hate the way our green and pleasant land is turning yellower by the year.*

So I'll use up what I've got and then move on to rapeseed oil and soya spread. I've started taking my portion of milled flaxseeds daily and need to work out how to incorporate flaxseed oil into my diet. I'm not quite sure how to do this as it shouldn't be exposed to direct heat. One of the things I'm not sure about is whether flaxseeds are affected by heat in baking, etc (you can make an egg substitue by whizzing up ground flaxseed with water).

It may be coincidental, but I think my skin (which is very dry) may have improved a little. I've been suffering from very dry skin, almost dermatitis, between my fingers and Neutrogena was barely touching it, but it does seem to be getting better.

Anyway, it all gives pause for thought.

*Granted both of these facts are caused more by the growing of soya and rapeseed for animal feeds than for human consumption
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Copied and pasted:

I just spent a few seconds supporting a Compassion in World Farming campaign to improve chicken welfare.

It was really easy to email my MP and ask them to show their support for honest labelling - this would let consumers easily identify what is intensive chicken and what is higher welfare.

Over 25% of MPs have already supported the campaign and, if your MP has done so, it will send them a quick thank you email which is nice!

You can take part right now if you follow this link:



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