Skip to content

Foundation Deposits

The combination of having a large number of deep holes in my garden, and a jar full of Christopher’s ashes was too great an opportunity to ignore. So I have deposited some of his ashes in the garden, where they have subsequently been concreted in place and become part of the foundations of the new terraces. That seems fitting – whilst I shall scatter most of his ashes on holiday, as I agreed with him, it’s only right that some should remain here in our garden.

With a bit of luck, I shall really confuse future generations of archaeologists who come to explore the British Camp hillfort. Archaeologists are notoriously quick to ascribe to “ritual” that which they don’t understand, and it might look to them like a “foundation deposit”. In archaeological terms that’s “a collection of objects buried within the walls or under the floors of a building”, believed to have been buried there as part of a ritual  to ensure the goodwill of the gods.  This was a widespread practice from at least Ancient  Mesopotamian times. There are examples from Roman London where animals, such as small dogs or a lamb, had been buried beneath floors where houses had been rebuilt after a fire. Elsewhere in Roman Britain, there are examples of human burials as foundation deposits.

I didn’t bury his ashes to secure the goodwill of any local deities, nor to bring good fortune, but simply because I think he ought to be buried somewhere he loved. But it’s very difficult to infer intent from a mere collection of objects, so I have every hope that a future archaeologist will decide that there was a deeper “ritual purpose” involved.

{ 3 } Comments

  1. David A | 6 September 2011 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    I shall have to remember to bury a random assortment of objects when I next dig a deep hole; the idea of confusing future archaeologists rather appeals. Though maybe they’ll be too busy picking over all our landfill sites, since they’ll have almost endless material to work on compared to ancient remains…

  2. PaulD | 8 September 2011 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Personally I think it would be a good idea if someone burried that Prof Mick Aston under some foundations and let the real boffins get on with their excavations 🙂

  3. Jayne A | 8 September 2011 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Oh this post did make me chuckle. I can just imagine it..