Greetings Walhain alums, friends, fans and all! We are just past halfway through our 12th season and the sun is shining this morning, which is a very good thing because we lost two on-site days last week on account of rain. The forecasts are pretty good for this week, though, and our stalwart American crew are not only uncovering a bunch of new features up against the north circuit wall of the inner courtyard, but yesterday bailed out the Belgian team doing the profiles in the deep trench way out on the far side of the outer bailey. Literally. As vétérans of ’03 and ’04 will well remember the rain turns the lower reaches of these trenches through the terrace clay into the underlying marl into swimming pools — and of course Laurent’s pump manages to break down before it can get all the water out. In fact Nicolas, the Belgian grad student who is area supervisor, seems to have decided to test the potential by taking a plunge from the top, over the heads of the girls scraping the baulks –of course he says he slipped on the muddy slope and made the best of things. Wish I’d been there to see it, but the eyewitnesses are trustworthy.
So our group has earned the nickname the Dirty Dozen; they hail this year from institutions ranging from Maine (Colby College) to Oregon (Portland State) with a solid Illinois contingent (Chicago and EIU). Dana, ’01, whom most of the alums will remember (who could forget?) has taken time away from her new job as a museum director (and fairly new husband Andrew)in her native Cleveland area to keep us all in line once again–the movie evenings in the lab (when there is no work on the material to be done) have been particularly popular this year, especially Monuments Men accompanied by pizza from Il Doge. Ashley, ’11, has been helping her out. Our friends at the Grand Place and the Coup de Theatre are pleased and excited to have the Americans back in town, remaining cordial even when the US and Belgium faced off in the World Cup. I watched the game at the Grand Place and no one, even fans wearing the Belgian flag, gave me the slightest dirty look (one even offered me a chair). Of course they were going to win, but at that point it was a tie, and everyone agreed that it was an exciting game, both teams playing well. Those of you who have frequented the Creperie will be pleased, but not surprised to hear that if offers even more beers. Before we get on with the show today I want to thank Annie Tock, ’05, for coming back this year with her husband Adam Morrisette to help us think about ways to expand the project in future years, and taking the initiative of managing this blog. Oh, a final note: Laurent has not let becoming Director of the CRAN (and Professor of Archaeology) on Dr. Brulet’s retirement in 2011 go to his head. He is as much Laurent as ever, as he demonstrated again in the wonderful tour he gave us at Tournai last Saturday (including the lunch that alums will not have forgotten). Off to the site!