On March 26th Nathalie Garfunkle gave a lecture to the Tuesday stratigraphy group entitled ‘An investigation of ritual deposition at the Romano-British temple site at Marcham‘, which focused on the finds in Trenches 21 and 36. Deposits found in a water logged pit in Trench 21, near to the semi-amphitheatre drain, included two deliberately perforated pots, a Roman basket, items of worked wood, stakes for hanging ritual objects and a leather shoe; the organic materials having been preserved in the wet conditions.
Trench 36 had revealed a Roman shrine surrounded by three Iron Age pits. Within the shrine was another pit with an offset shaft aligned with the centre of the Romano-Celtic temple. A deposit of coins were found in the top layers of soil with a terminus post quem (time after which) it was deposited, of AD 388. There was much debate about the construction and purpose of the shaft, and whether the shrine was part of a processional route from the temple to the semi-amphitheatre. A possible comparison was drawn between an older pattern of ritual deposition found in Trench 21 and a more formal Romanised ritual taking place around the area of Trench 36.
Much was learnt about the finds from Marcham, ritual deposition, and also about the importance of water in ritual sites. All of which provided interesting background and helped to put the statigraphy work into context.
Thank you Nathalie for a very interesting lecture.
Carol Hughes (Tuesday stratigraphy group )