Posted by: lukelavan | September 4, 2008

Excavations Begin

The Kent-Berlin Ostia Excavation 2008 has begun.

The team arrived in Rome on Monday 01 Sept, and began digging yesterday 03 Sept. We are now installed in a garden campsite which we spent the first two days improving – thanks in part to the carpentry skills of engineer Alex, the son of Axel Gering.

We have been hit by more than our fair share of problems, but are so far OK: the non-arrival of our equipment (tents and all) has caused some problems, though nothing that the local garden hardware shop cant fix, making us favoured clients.

The heat is intense, and the humidity high even at night. After the first night’s ‘sweatbath’ morale was a little low but the campsite is much better ordered and several meals have been consumed. The installation of a second (cold) shower, whilst invigorating, has improved matters.

Unfortunately the team have their fair share of predators – namely mosquitoes. This has turned the camp into something of an exhibition centre of preventive technology, though none of this has helped Quyen, the wife of Luke Lavan, very much, who is their favourite dish.

On site we have begun devegetating our main objective – the ‘foro della staua eroica’ – which is a square porticoed plaza on the main street in front of the main baths. We intend to completely uncover it and photograph the full area, prior to digging selected sondages. Already on the first day we have some important discoveries: several phases of late Roman paving, some incoporating re-used inscriptions of earlier times.

The plaza is a pleasant place to work. On site the air is drier, and the square is covered by a great Roman pine tree, with a generous canopy, which sheds many needles onto the floor below. So long as these dont end up in one’s bum during lunch, workiing conditions are generally good, with shade for much of the day.

A breeze blows in from the sea on most days, though no-one can pretend it the temperature is not 30 degrees or more. Half-price gelati from the site cafeteria have gone some way to aleviating this.

Must go now – the man throwing boxes out of the truck outside must be DHL

Luke Lavan 04/09/2008



  1. What a difference in working conditions, to the last dig that Andy and I went on, in a rainy, muddy field in lincolnshire this august! Am following your work with great interest and can’t wait to see what the excavations reveal next.
    Debbie(Andy Bates girlfriend!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: