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From Aug 2006 - Nov 2013 WeDig provided a live forum for diggers & fans of Vindolanda. It has now been mothballed and will be maintained as a live archive.

Here you will find preserved 7 years of conversation, photos, & knowledge about a site many people love. Vindolanda gets under the skin. (Figuratively and literally as a volunteer excavator!) It's a place you remember, filled with people you remember!

Thanks for 7 great years!

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A Digger's Guide to Vindolanda


Welcome to the Digger's Guide! Think of this as your own personal cheat-sheet for learning about Vindolanda on your own time, following your own interests. Set in a magnificent region of natural beauty and thousands of years of history, an excavation at Vindolanda can be an amazing experience. But a fort that saw no less than 12 different periods spread across 400+ years can be, well, confusing! Hopefully this resource will help make sense of it so you can enjoy your time that much more.

The Guide provides pages on each different period of occupation, with background & highlights. More pages will help you see how these periods related to goings-on in Britain & the wider Roman Empire over the centuries. In addition, special-interest pages will help you learn more about characteristics of the site, or about types of site finds, that you find appealing. An ever-growing glossary will help you learn the lingo. In time, there will even be pages on how diggers have enjoyed spending their off-hours as well -- be it an evening at a pub, a walk along the Wall, a shopping trip, or a game of quoits with new friends. The number & breadth of pages will expand as members of WeDig submit posts about topics near & dear to their hearts.

The Digger's Guide has been put together with the volunteer excavator in mind, to help you make the most of the time you have on-site. It tries to take the bigger picture of the wider Roman world and translate it into what's happening in your own trench. It's also hoped that some of the information here will help spark some good conversations in the forums, and help you get connected to and feel part of the community. Vindolanda -- and the wider Tynedale region -- are full of surprises & excitement. Hopefully this Guide will help you experience them to the fullest.



Two Excellent Books for Discovering the Wall

de la Bedoyere, Guy. "Hadrian's Wall History & Guide." Tempus, 1997This book is an excellent first dip into learning the history, purpose, and archaeology of the Wall. It's a fast read, and manages to be both informative & interesting. If you only read one book as you're preparing to come dig at Vindolanda, this would be a good choice. Though printed in 1997, it's still overall quite current.
Breeze, David J. "Handbook to the Roman Wall." Society of Antiquaries, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 2006This is the 14th & latest edition of J. Collingwood Bruce's original guidebook to the Wall. It is remarkably in-depth, covering Wall forts, Stanegate forts, milecastles, turrets, hinterland forts, outpost forts, coastal defences, with many photos & plans of the archaeology. Though it would have benefitted from more maps & directions to the various sites, this book is still a gem for those who just can't get enough Wall.


Getting Oriented
Notes, tips, and thoughts from diggers to diggers

20 Questions: A Quick Guide to Understanding Vindolanda
200 Years of Excavation History on One Page
An Introduction to Vindolanda's Museums
Staying Onsite at the Hedley Center
So, How's the Weather?
Vindolanda on Foot
Glossary of Vindolanda Terms

Vindolanda's Occupation Periods

Period I - c. AD85 - c. AD92
Period II - c. AD92 - c. AD97
Period III - c. AD97 - c. AD105
Period IV - c. AD105 - c. AD122
Period V - c. AD122 - c. AD140
Period VI - c. AD140 - c. AD160
Period VI-A - c. AD160 - c. AD208
Period VI-B - c. AD208 - c. AD213
Period VII - c. AD213 - c. AD300
Period VIII - c. AD300 - c. AD367
Period IX - c. AD367 - c. AD410
Period X - c. AD410 - c. AD550+

400 Years at a Glance
A Very Brief Guide to the
Wider Roman World


The Principate (Periods I - VIA/VIB)


The Anarchy (Periods VIB - VII)


The Dominate (Periods VIII - IX)


(Period X is post-Roman.)


Military Strategy

Imperial Grand Strategy
(the Empire's defenses over time)

Hadrian's Wall
(and its relation to Vindolanda)

The Army
(History, Recruitment, Conditions of Service)




Special Interest

Animal Bones at Vindolanda
The Geology of Vindolanda, Part I
The Geology of Vindolanda, Part II
A Bag of "Typical" Finds
A Guide to Coinage at Vindolanda
A Guide to Samian Pottery at Vindolanda
A Bit About Jupiter Dolichenus
Other Area Sites Worth a Visit

Bewcastle Fort, Cross, and Castle
Black Middens Bastle House
Crindledykes Lime Kiln
Hermitage Castle
The Stanegate

Local Walks
A suggestion of ways to explore more of the countryside

Walk 1 - Chainley Burn


Further Reading
A suggested starting point...


Page updated 7 August, 2009