They gathered now at Eskham, in their wellies, like a flock of ducks,
The farmyard full of cats who’d left the barn to take a closer look,
And gazed out on the field, half-submerged in storm light, studying
The earthworks underneath the grass. Then with tape measures, trowels and pins
They started systematically to draw up diagrams that were
At best inaccurate, at worse a difficult to work out blur,
Their minds made up already there was nothing ancient here to see,
Just mud and banks and stuff that didn’t smack of archaeology.
Raised voices broke the thickening air. I’m told that the collective noun
For archaeologists’s an ‘argument’. It seems someone had found
A piece of brick, Victorian, no doubt from the old cattle shed
Now gone, but still on 1847 maps, and so they said
There wasn’t anything of any value here from history,
And pleased with what they’d done retired to the farmhouse for their tea,
While I just stood there in the earthworks, hardly caring any more,
Knowing experts years ago found half a Roman farm next door.

14 responses to “Eskham

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