After days of getting down and dirty, our slaves were finally able to start construction on the latrine walls! Using the flint and mortar technique used on our Roman Villa, the latrine has been built up slowly and precariously, but don’t worry, we’re sure it will be stable enough to sit on!
Also, over the past couple of days, we’ve caught our slaves skiving off work to play the Roman board game latrunculi with our domesticated legionnaire, Larus Fucius Hispania. They’ve had so much fun playing it, that they might just end up incorporating it into the latrine itself as the Roman’s did themselves, so you can play while you poo! Watch this space…
We had another fantastic day at the Rare & Traditional Breeds Show on Sunday! The show takes place each year at the Weald & Downland Museum in Singleton, and it’s the perfect outing for anyone who loves livestock, rare breeds and rural life. Last year we took our youngest kid Sorrel to the show, and this year we took Sorrel (now grown up!) with her two male kids Hops and Burdock.
It was also a great opportunity to catch up with our fellow members of the English Goat Breeders’ Association, dedicated to the promotion and preservation of the English goat breed. English goats are a rare breed in Britain, and we are lucky enough to have six of them at the farm. They are a great dual purpose breed for milk and meat (although we don’t eat ours!), so if you’re interested in introducing a goat to your family or smallholding, we really recommend this breed.
We also bought a brand new Manx Loaghtan ram to refresh our flock! He’s a pedigree yearling called Norman, and is very handsome. Sorrel and Burdock each won 3rd prize in their categories, although Hops was a bit naughty and won 4th… Nevertheless, we are proud of them all and look forward to another lovely day next year! Hops is also still currently for sale, so do get in touch if you’d like a pet goat or a companion for your horse or sheep.
Tiffany with our glorious goats
Director Simon showing Sorrel in the ring
Stuart showing Hops in the ring
Our new Manx Loaghtan ram, Norman
Hops being naughty, as usual
Apparently, one of the most commonly asked questions about the Romans is: Where did they go to the toilet? So our student volunteers from Cardiff University, Hannah and Lewis, along with our archaeologist Claire Walton thought they’d show you first hand!
After initial investigations into the dirty work of Roman toilets, we discovered that the average toilet stood at 43cm tall and as little as 30cm apart! To save such a close encounter and give the modern derrière some wiggle room, we decided to increase the distance to a more moderate 56cm instead. Such a gap however, had its downsides as it meant we had to create a three-seater latrine 181cm long, which meant some digging!
..and some more digging…
..and more digging….
When our slaves were all dug out we thought we’d be kind and let them mix some mortar, with the help of supreme leader Simon instead, ready for tomorrow’s antics!
A big thank you to all the Butser Ancient Farm volunteers, this week and every week! It’s National Volunteers’ Week and organisations all over the country are celebrating their volunteers.
Our volunteers come in many different guises. They are the regulars who come every Wednesday to help with physical work around the farm. They are groups who come from local businesses to give some of their time and skills to help with tasks that range from counting Roman mosaic tiles to daubing a roundhouse wall. They come to help with special events, including our major festivals like Beltain, or the Toga Tuesdays for this year’s Roman Summer. They are students, or retired, or people wanting to learn a new skill, meet some friendly people, work outside in our lovely site, or share their love of the past. They are all welcome and very much appreciated.
Thank you to all the Butser Ancient Farm volunteers. We couldn’t do it without you!
We are delighted to announce the birth of twin baby goats! The boys arrived this morning and are the sons of our English goat Sorrel, who came third place in her category at the Singleton Rare & Traditional Breeds show last summer. English goats are a traditional breed in Britain and there are only 1800 individuals in the country.
At just a few hours old, the boys are already exploring their paddock and tiptoeing out into the rain under Sorrel’s watchful eye. Based on past experiences at the farm, the next few months will be full of mischief and mayhem as the two boys will find every opportunity to escape their paddock and explore the site.
The boys have not yet been named but will probably go with Butser tradition and take a botanical name, like our other goats Sorrel, Yarrow and Comfrey. Now is the perfect time to visit the site and meet our new arrivals in the beautiful spring weather, as we are now open seven days a week!