shewhomust: (Default)
[personal profile] shewhomust
D. was with us at the weekend. He had agreed to spend Saturday supporting some friends who were doing the Lyke Wake Walk, and no, staying in Durham in order to do this makes no sort of geographical sense. And of course we'll see him next week, when we all go to Lindisfarne. But an excuse for a visit is always good. In the course of Friday evening, [personal profile] durham_rambler remarked that there is a dig in progress this summer at Binchester Roman fort, and D. said that he had never been to Binchester. So that's what we did yesterday.

Previous visits: Open Day 2014; Heritage Open Days, 2016. Not to mention Time Team's visit in 2007.

The changes to the existing display, which were promised on our most recent visit, haven't happened yet, and the reconstructed Roman still sits in the first hot room, where D. was properly impressed by the survival of the flues that brought the heated air up from the hypocausts below:

Flues and hypocausts


Across the walkway, a couple of swallows had found their way into the second hot room, and seemed to be very agitated about something, but we couldn't work out what - they seemed to be able to get in and out, and they weren't fighting. If they'd built a nest, we couldn't see it, but that proves nothing.

Outside, a track has been worn across the field to the Regimental Bathhouse, the only part of the vicus still visible above ground, and now sheltered by a giant marquee, which flaps noisily in the wind:

Bathhouse under cover


This year, they are excavating the mausolea on the plateau below the fort: there was nobody there, it being Sunday, but we went and nosed around anyway. Big bare area, holes in the ground in no obvious pattern, lots of white string and labels. We are capable of getting quite excited about these things...

We had thought of lunching at Whitworth Hall, where none of us had been before, but it was fully booked, so we went into Bishop Auckland to see what we could find: building works, mostly. Renovations at the Castle have reached a point where the building is closed, and the Market Place is barricaded by roadworks. We gave up and went to the local Wetherspoons (the 'Stanley Jefferson', in honour of local boy Stan Laurel), unexciting but reliable.
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