With the preparations for the 2019 edition well under way (check the organisor's website for more information, and updates), I thought I'd ... finally take some time to process the 2018 files. I remember that, at the time, I was intent on visiting as many places and micro-events as possible. As the saying goes, a great many practical difficulties stand between dream and reality, my own curiosity and my underestimation of weekend traffic jams being the most important in this case. In the end, I was only able to visit and attend 3 of the 6 activities on my schedule. Which by themselves, were only a fraction of what was going on that Saturday.
First stop: the basement of CREO in Roeselare, a center for adult training. The building's basement is actually an interbellum bomb shelter, which is used by two archaeological societies (Vereniging voor Oudheidkundig Bodemonderzoek, or V.O.B.o.W. vzw, and the Werkgroep Archeologie Roeselare, or WAR) to store archaeological artefacts unearthed in Roeselare. Because of its stable climate, the structure was found to be particularly suited for that purpose.
Easily the most spectacular, beside the existence of the shelter itself, was the ongoing conservation of a Roman water well found at the Roeselare-Haven site 25 years ago. All these years, the wood had been kept submerged in water, and only recently, a conservation effort had been set up (unfortunately, some of the wood couldn't be saved because of that). What you see on the pictures are the wooden boards, some of them in a water basin that had been build inside the shelter (sort of the "building a boat in your basement" thing). The white buckets filled with fluid actually contain a mixture of water and conservation agent, the latter gradually dissolving in the water before the buckets are added to the basin.
I left Roeselare and I took off to Ghent, where the alma mater's archaeology department provided flint knapping initiations, which seemed to appeal first and foremost to the younger segment of the passersby.
The next generation of heritage enthusiasts in the making ...
As we found out, the timeframe granted for the activity had to be strictly adhered to, as suddenly, almost in the blink of an eye, the square was turned into a wretched hive of scum and villainy. Which is another way of saying that a political party meeting was scheduled next. As there was no way of holding our ground against the swarming army of mindless followers, which were brought in by the busloads (literally), we beat a hasty retreat and reorganised at the department's headquarters, to prepare for the next micro-event - at which we struck back by (amongst others) discussing the by while uneasy tension between politics and archaeology, past and present.
Final stop for the day: the Geus van Gent, the freethinkers' home away from home in the center of Ghent, for a panel discussion with archaeologists in the field (scholar, excavator, and educator).
Setting the scene ... By the time the event had started, daylight coming in through the two windows in the shot, had dropped considerably, while the light fixtures on the walls and ceiling were primarily there for adding to the decor, which, except for the windows, could best be described as a mithraeum with a dark blue vaulted ceiling and red walls.
Let's just say that some time was spent in post-processing, white-balancing a mixture of fading daylight, the light emanating from a variety of fixtures (some of which taking the form of a deer head, for god's sake) and my on camera flash, bouncing of walls and ceiling (mostly both at the same time). Such is the doom of a photographer, I guess.
The gathering also turned out to be something of a reunion for 5 of the members of the class of 2003. Not that uncommon, fortunately, but still worthy of a picture, taken in this case by Wouter Gheyle.