A word from the base camp itself, again thanks to Didier and his roaming internet access ; he has found one corner of the Finds Room where there is a full mobile signal (when standing on a chair and allowing two hours).
The Finds Room consists of half a room with two tables covered un bags of pottery – washed on the right-hand side, unwashed on the left . There is a lot of it – Sam’s trench SIII and Nicolas’ trench SVI in particular have been generating huge amounts, the former largely as pottery pavement fill and the latter as occupation refuse, it seems. Folded strip roulette is prevalent, but we get guest appearances by other motifs, and we’re particularly keen to untangle the role of the mat-impressed/’roulette de cordelette sur armature multiple’ sherds.
Also in the finds room are several fragmentary pots, bags of sand, and the various samples for archaeobotanical sampling (twenty-litre sacks of earth) ; hanging festively from a line like bunting are those samples which Louis has already processed.
The other half of the room is the kitchen, provisioned by purchases in Birnin Lafiya (tomatoes , onions, sugar, pasta, kola nuts, powdered milk), regular trips to Malanville (rice, gari, sardines, soft drinks, lemons, beer, oranges, bread), and the odd exciting addition from Cotonou or beyond (bananas, carrots, papayas, potatoes).
Our fleet of three cars spends its time taking people to field locations or to the main excavation site, dropping passengers off to catch buses in Malanville, buying food, getting repaired or fetching water.