A look back to 2009's highlights
In 2009 the 45-strong Summer outing to the Great North Museum in Newcastle to see the Roman section in the morning, followed by a visit to Segedunum (Wallsend) in the afternoon took place on the lovely summery Saturday 25 July with Trust members and friends.
On Monday 24 August, 2009 we hosted 40 delegates from the 21st week-long Roman Frontiers Conference in Newcastle (Limes - pronounced lee-maze - is the Latin for 'frontier') at their first stop in Roman Scotland, with coffee, scones and a swing of the kilt.
The 2008 bumper newsletter - Trumpet 23 - was 32 pages long, all colour, and came out eventually with the help of our good friend, Angus Ferguson.
Another big event was the stiff climb by 20 of us, including six children, on Saturday 5 September - Scottish Archaeology Month - up to the Iron Age Easter Hill earthwork on the Gattonside Hills across the River Tweed from the Roman fort at Newstead. After we came down we were piped down Newstead Main Street by Kyle and Liam Blain to have our tea and biscuits, and the boys gave musical accompaniment to Jessica Bennett's Highland Dancing in the Hall. The talented three have donned Roman costume for us for years but last year and this they've gone all indigenous. In 2010 we're thinking about a climb up to the third of these Iron Age 'forts' above Gattonside - Camp Knowe - Sat 4 Sept 1.30pm from Gattonside Village Hall, back by about 3.30pm.
It seems a long time ago now, but the Spring 2009 highlights in the Trimontium Calendar were the three Celebrity Lectures. We had three more on 8, 22 and 29 October in Melrose Corn Exchange on the Piddington villa, the Carberry tombstone and the Varus battle in 9 AD in Germany (a massacre) - and we'll post details soon.
On 12 March,2009 Alistair Elliot, poet, translator and classicist from Newcastle, whose translations have been performed by Dame Diana Rigg in London and New York, described how in 1500 lines he completed the play Phaethon by Euripides (now published by Oberon) from the surviving 327 lines on a palimpsest and quotes from other ancient authors. 'Excavating Euripides: papyrus, palimpsest, play' was a first for the Trust, showed how the Greek myths cast light on family problems faced today ('wife deceives husband','boy racer meets fiery end') and with the sale of his books introduced the engaging work of Alistair Elliot to the Borders public.
On 19 March, 2009 Alexander Coldwell from Ballachulish, Latinist, artist and model maker, described the development of the buildings in the Roman Forum. His talk was called 'Gradatim (step by step) to Grandeur '. He started with diagrams, followed by a tour of the existing ruins and then by an unforgettable minute circulation round his wonderful model Forum with its buildings in their pristine state. The images of the tiny Temple of Janus and the 45 feet high equestrian statue of Domitian (later pulled down) are burned on the retina.
On 26 March,2009 Dr John Reid, Chairman of the Trust, rounded off the series with a PowerPoint presentation on 'The Roman Station at Inveresk; a mystery, a conundrum, an enigma'. He described metal detecting on the battlefield at Pinkie before embarking on a survey of the finds over the years at the huge site of Inveresk, dominated by St Michael's church and its graveyard, the core of the fort and the settlement. The importance of the site is shown by the fact that of the five inscriptions found in Britain relating to the post of procurator, a high status finance officer, two have been found at Inveresk.
The overall title of the lectures was 'The glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome'. Full accounts of the lectures will be available in the 2010 newsletter, The Trimontium Trumpet, referred to above.
On Saturday 28 March, 2009 Dr Fraser Hunter of the National Museums unveiled the latest iconic objects from James Curle's excavation of 1905-10 at Trimontium - two magnificent bronze wine jars - kindly loaned from the Museum of Scotland for the 2009 season from 1 April to 31 October. The Border Telegraph carried their picture and a rave review. Fraser should be doing the same with the next objects for the start of the season on 1 April 2010.