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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!

Area A (Andy's Team) Granaries - 1

In 2008, Andy's crews spent much of the season uncovering the two granaries inside Stone Fort II (the latest fort, whose walls are visible today). The excavations focused on levels of Periods VII through X. (See the Digger's Guide for more detail on Vindolanda in these periods.

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Stone Fort II was constructed at the beginning of Period VII (about 213 AD), and the granaries were probably built at the same time. Granaries were a key part of a Roman fort, for obvious reasons. They're easy to identify thanks to the buttresses built into their stonework. The weight of the grain pressing against the walls could be huge. So the Romans used buttresses to keep the building from collapsing outward. Because of this, granaries were among the strongest, longest-lasting buildings within a fort. At many sites (including Vindolanda), there's evidence for them being refitted and used long after other structures had crumbled away.

Romans also knew that it was crucial to keep their grain dry. So they often built underfloor air channels and vent windows to allow air circulation. One of the two at Vindolanda shows evidence for channels, the other not (though the floor may have been refitted at some point).

Stone Fort II's granaries were located in the typical spot for a Roman fort -- next to the principia (headquarters). As you'll see from the pictures below, the remains are quite impressive. And the two granaries seem to have had very different histories.



Below is a photo of the granaries early in the dig, April '08.

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This picture is from the south, looking up the narrow alleyway between the western (left) and eastern (right) granaries. The quality of construction of the western granary is obvious, with beveled stones, levelling courses, etc. The eastern granary appears to be of a different construction, though full details aren't yet available.


The next photo is from about a month and a half later, the end of May '08. The alleyway has been dug down deeper to reach the foundations of the granaries, and much of the eastern granary has been exposed.

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This photo shows the underfloor channels of the eastern granary quite well (only a very few of the original floorstones remain in place). During the course of the excavation, numerous soil samples were taken from the channels. They will hopefully shed light on the kinds of grains/foods being stored, as well as any pest problems like rats or insects.

Also note how much of the western granary's wall is left standing, in places 8 or more courses of stones still in place!


The last of this sequence shows the two granaries from the same location again, this time in late July when they had been almost fully exposed.

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Many of the channels of the eastern granary have now been cleared fully, and much of the southern wall has been exposed. (Note the enormous stone at the front-right of the photo. This is the original door threshold for the entryway to the granary, still in place.)

There was little or no evidence for use of the eastern granary beyond Roman times. However, the western granary is a very different story, as will be seen in Page Two.