Another one of those series that have been sleeping on my hard drive for way too long. After the images were delivered to Ex Situ magazine, I came up with the idea of making a whole new selection for the website, so a considerable amount of reprocessing was in order.
Enter procrastination. Taking pictures is always more fun than reprocessing a whole batch of old ones, right?
Anyway, the shots appearing here were made at the very end of summer ... 2018. I was asked by Ex Situ to cover an ongoing excavation in old town Ghent.
Such assignments are fun: archaeologists are typically very enthusiastic about their work, so a visit usually begins with a tour around the site, and a summary of the findings and interpretations that are available at that point.
This time was no different: the senior archaeologist led me around, told the story of the place, and pointed to the features that tied the reconstruction together. What I saw was 2 construction phases of a medieval stone house, which was, all things considering, pretty well preserved and in a state that was actually 'readable'.
Frankly I was amazed at the extent to which the walls had been preserved (a height of over two metres, fine looking stone work, window sill, garden wall ...). Even the hole that accommodated the bolt of the front door, made in the stone slap that formed the doorstep, was clearly visible.
The reason for the preservation of the first phase (end 12th, beginning 13th century) was also the reason for the existence of the second phase: water. The site was situated in direct proximity of a river arm, so in a lower lying part of the city. The installation a system of new weirs gave rise (sorry, couldn't help myself) to elevated water levels in the city waterways.
As a result, the site became too wet (either permanently or intermittently), which led to the construction of phase 2 during the second half of the 13th century, starting with an increase of ground level by at least 1.4 metres.
There's probably some kind of lesson to be learned from all this.
While temperatures were very agreeable, my afternoon visit took place under a cloud cover that was able to hold back the sun for most of the time. Ideal conditions to document a dig, but then again, I wasn't there to actually document the site for scientific purposes.
After shooting some of the interesting features, and the archaeologists doing their thing (I was there as part of an assignment, remember), my attention shifted to the more abstract stuff made up of constellations of multicoloured soils and stone work.
From time to time, the sun broke through, bringing the site to life by introducing sparkles, shadows and depth. These moments didn't nearly last long enough for me to get all the shots I needed, but on the other hand, I just had to include them. Because of that, this series has a bit of a bipolar streak to it.
As I saw no way to really integrate both parts visually, I've presented them one after the other. I hope you'll find something of merit in both. Oh, and do go and read the Ex Situ article covering the dig ! (nr. 22, i.e. the January-Februari-March 2019 issue).