THE second season of excavations at Chester's Roman amphitheatre began in earnest on Tuesday, June 14.
Riding on the success of BBC 2's Timewatch programme Britain's Lost Colosseum - aired on Friday, May 17 and again the following Monday, thanks to industrial action by the BBC's Newsnight team - hopes are high for another summer of astounding revelations.
The winter protection has now been taken off and as the white sheeting and sandbags were removed, we began to remind ourselves of just where it was left last year - and just how much work remains to be done!
Not only have we exposed the areas excavated last year, but enlarged the areas near the middle of the site.
A question we are already being asked by visitors is 'What do you hope to find this year?'
There are several answers. In the area near the middle of the site we are down to 17th century levels associated with the Civil War siege of Chester 360 years ago.
We will discover what the landscape was like at this time, whether gun batteries were built, and how this may have influenced the strategy of the besiegers.
Moving back in time, we hope to find out whether there are any monastic buildings relating to St John's in our area, and how early these are.
The discovery of early Christian burials nearby in 2000 suggests St John's was an early foundation; can we confirm this? If so, is it related to the idea of the amphitheatre as a place of Christian martyrdom?
As for the amphitheatre structure, we still have no clear idea of how it was used in the early post-Roman period - the so-called Dark Ages.
Was it a separate fortification? Was it inhabited as a refuge, or as a centre of power? Was it the location of the Synod of bishops at Chester in the early 7th century?
We have a great deal of evidence for the Roman phases of the amphitheatre, but there are still questions to ask about the architecture and engineering of the building and the way in which it was used.
The most crucial question, though, is what date were the two amphitheatres built?
We will be writing fortnightly updates for The Chronicle during the excavation.