As if I didn’t love Britain enough, I can now associate this beautiful island with one of the most incredible and rewarding experiences of my life. I have been taking Classical Studies courses for three years now, enjoying every moment (even when I wanted to throw Ovid out of a window), but coming here and actually holding things produced by ancient Romans has been life-changing. As Lauren said, these things are 2000 years old; there were real people living here 2000 years ago, people who ate and drank and gambled and attended birthday parties and complained about wine-shortages. A single piece of pottery is worth every moment of digging through piles and piles of mud and slop and goodness knows what, because finding that one sherd transforms what was for so long simply a farmer’s field into an archaeological site. With every wheelbarrow, Beth and Alex and everyone here at Vindolanda are providing us with a glimpse at the development of an empire, at the center of which were ordinary people.
On a slightly more personal note, I would now like to present a piece I composed dedicated to two of the most necessary objects in which I had the pleasure of working on this trip. Without further ado, an Ode to the Wellington:
It’s wet again, surprise, surprise,
A sorry sight for waking eyes
That have too seldom seen the sun
Since this adventure has begun.
We wake to drips and sleep to drops
A trend, it seems, that never stops;
It leaves the ground a soggy mess,
And surely soaks your feet, unless
You have upon your stockinged toes
The boots that every digger knows
Are musts, in rain and mud and sleet,
To ensure two warm and cozy feet.
The Wellington, I mean, of course,
A saving grace, a glorious force,
Repelling water like our friends
The Romans did barbarians.
Without them, surely, we would be
More likely to have mutinied
Against those who led us around
O’er craggy hill and dampened ground.
So to our Wellies, thanks we give
For they allowed us all to live
With toasty feet, which, as you’d guess
Made possible our happiness.
So now that I have thanked the almighty Wellies, I feel it’s only fitting that I finish off my last post with a few other “Thank Yous.” First of all, I absolutely must thank Beth and Alex, for not only making this possible, but also for making this absolutely the best experience it could have been. You two have meant the world to us, if I may momentarily speak for the group, and the trip would not have been what it has been without you two specific individuals here to guide us along. Thank you so much, and please extend that appreciation to all the lovely staff members at Vindolanda who made us feel welcome from the moment we arrived.
To the other crazy kids lucky-enough to be chosen to partake in this experience, I’ll miss living with you; braving the rain wouldn’t have been the same without you. I’d also like to extend my sincerest gratitude to those who supported this endeavour financially; it is your interest in and support of this incredible opportunity that enabled us to participate in it.
It’s strange to sign-out for the last time, to leave the field school knowing that we will never be back here again as a group, but I leave with fond memories, new relationships, and no regrets. Thanks again to everyone who made it possible.