40 years or so, after

In 1975 we lived in a house in Gordon Town, Jamaica, and in the garden the owner kept two, 500+ year old Spanish jars. One day a photographer turned up to photograph the jars for a magazine – National Geographic, Jamaica Journal, History Today, I forget which. The kids were playing in the garden, and the photographer took a few shots with them in it, not for publication but for us. This one included Dominic.

Dominic, aged 10, leaning on a jar (a tinajón or aljibe) Gordon Town, Jamaica

In the last week of September this year, Dominic came with us to stay in lovely Mia and Guy’s apartment by the Med at Valras-Plage, in the Hérault, Languedoc. On a visit to the Oppidum d’Ensérune, near Béziers, we came across another large jar, this one 2000 years old and Gallo-Roman, not Spanish. Fortunately we had Dominic at hand for the photo.

Dominic, aged 51, leaning on a jar (dolium) at the Oppidum d’Ensérune, Languedoc

The Oppidum is an amazingly well preserved Gallic village  which was occupied without interruption between the 6th century BC and 1st century AD, its location being chosen probably because it was a hill with good views over the entire coastal plain and out to sea.

The view looking north-east from the Oppidum d’Ensérune

The dolia were buried in the ground on the lower floor of the houses and were used for long term  storage of food such as grain, pulses, nuts and dried fruit.

Dolia in situ at Ensérune


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