I attended the excellent Summer School of the Classical Association of Ireland at Trinity College this weekend. Two really fascinating talks by Andrew Wallace-Hadrill about how the ruins of Herculaneum (the other Roman town buried by Vesuvius at the same time as Pompeii) were discovered and at least partially unearthed over succeeding centuries and about how the parts so far exposed are being restored and preserved. The problems here are that the volcanic material that overtook the town and flowed into all spaces solidified into rock which is difficult to drill out plus that a modern town was built on top, which doesn’t make the archaeologists’ work easy. Some beautiful and revealing photographs and interesting old newsreel material of archaeological teams at work in the first half of the 20th. century. Useful titbits garnered as well from other talks about ancient Greek houses and temples. Individuals among this gathering of very friendly people – teachers, academics and enthusiasts - showed interest in my novel and there was much congenial conversation.
Launch of my new collection of poems Bluebell Wood and Beyond comes next in late September and early October in Drogheda and Dublin and then, in mid-November, the big adventure of attending Bouchercon in San Francisco, perhaps the most heavily attended of all the crime fiction conventions. It sounds very exciting. With luck I get to meet my heroes – Steven Saylor and Lindsey Davis whose series of novels in their different styles about Ancient Roman detectives Gordianus and Falco defined the genre and laid down the high standard to be aimed for.