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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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Words with Foresight
"The opportunity has now arisen for the North to make its own spectacular contribution to British archaeology... Vindolanda is one of the best preserved Roman sites in the country. If the funds can be raised to carry out this work, it will become a monument which will not only attract visitors from all over the country and from overseas, but will also enrich the lives of local people and provide a valuable educational stimulus for the Northern Counties and the Borders."

-- Insert from Vindolanda's first guide book, 1971, announcing the formation of the Trust and hope for the future. 40 years on, seems it's worked! (Note, it would be another 2 years before the first writing tablet was found.)

Week 10
And more shots from Terry & Pauline in the "main" dig:


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Soggy site 4a from the north looking SE

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Site 7 from the north looking south across 7 & 8. A mega-trench that seems just on the verge of being pretty interesting.

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Site 5, SE corner looking NW. Overview of the really well-defined set of the now -4- N/S drains/culverts diggers have been hard at work troweling back.

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This is across the visitor path over in the old Site 1a from the first weeks. Standing on the west side looking NNW. That big line of boulders and smaller stone is (I believe?) on the same path as the big E-W Antonine wall that's come up in 4a -- sarcanon's wall next to the vicus. Can anyone confirm? The boulders on top look too high & huge to be Antonine, but what about the more tumbled stones peeking out below?

Thanks again as always for the shots Terry & Pauline!

Week 10
It really is a great-looking wall isn't it? Hard to picture it as anything other than a building... but what do I know? It seems they were always doing weird things. Maybe it was the start of a super-large fort perimeter whose plans got changed?

As promised from Terry above, another nice set of shots of the day. Can -almost- see the midges in some of them. First a couple from the North Field:

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A day out
Just east of Chesters is the site of the "Battle of Heavenfield" -- a big Anglo-Welsh to-do from the 600s. Marking the site is a church called "St. Oswald's." The church there now is from 1817, but a medieval one was before it, and an Anglo-Saxon before that. Good website here.

It's got a Roman altar in it that was re-used at some early date as a cross base too:

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So definitely something all the cool kids along the Wall were doing. On the other hand it really -does- seem like Rev. Hedley had some major sway & could see it as totally appropriate that his friends would move the altars there for him.

Robin did a big book on Hedley about 10 years ago. I should get a copy and read up on him more. Maybe the answer's there?

Week 10
And Terry's pictures of the "main" dig:

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Site 7 from NW corner, looking SE across 7 & 8 (which have now obviously joined into another mega-trench)

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Site 8 from SE corner, looking back NW across 8 & 7

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Site 5 from the W edge, looking east across 5 and 4a/b. Interesting rectilinear-something in foreground.

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Site 5 from S, looking NE. Great view of the multiple drains/culverts that are coming up.

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Site 4b from NE looking W across the vicus aqueduct, the big earlier Severan stone blocks just to its left, and the glistening much-earlier fort ditch just left again.

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Site 4a from N, looking S. The massive E/W Antonine wall-that-doesn't-belong-there, quickly reflooding.

Thanks again for the pics!

Week 10
Terry also took time out at the end of the day to survey the goings-on in the main site. First, a refresher plan as it stood at the end of Week 9:

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Week 10
As promised, some of Terry & Pauline's shots from Week 10, Day 1. First, the North Field.

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Week 10
It's a great set of pictures -- will try to get them up this evening. But at least this one for now. You don't see this every day.

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Week 10
I remember some archived pics (from 09 maybe?) showing good stone walls, but I believe those were closer in to the road. (My sense of place in the North Field is hopeless.) Why am I not surprised the first thing they hit is ditches. ;)

And really cool to see Vindo hosting archaeology field school!

Week 9
Thanks for the pic! Would love to see more as the week progressed. The features over there in "7" are confusing to me -- I hope I got the placement of the road right on the latest plan. Any advice on what you all found and where would be most appreciated!

A day out
I love that place. Thanks for the post Badger! Will make a great addition to the walks.

Also, Mike McGuire has worked up the route for his guided Barcombe Hill walk, I just need to get that coded in. Hopefully soon. Will definitely be nice to have more than the current one walk there.

Week 10
Hi all. What's happening in the ever-widening trenches for Week 10?

Area of Excavations 2012
END of WEEK 9
(May 28 - June 1)

Another productive week. An enigmatic wall defined. Drains/culverts worked back & back. A new road surface found by the Romano-Celtic temple out west. Another new trench put in. And the North Field opened for business!

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(Wider shot to put location in context here)

Week 9 saw all kinds of activity around the ever-growing excavation area. Diggers expanded zone 5 southward, removing the angled road to follow an earlier series of 3 (at least?) parallel N/S drains/culverts beneath, trying to make sense of them. The sides are coming up beautifully, but finds proved limited. Always an enigma, one drain sank down & down, others ran back into the baulk, and an area of cobbling seemed to stand alone in the midst of natural clay banks.

In 4a, diggers defined the massive presumed-Antonine E/W wall just next to the later aqueduct. It's proving a very impressive bit of stonework. And in a place where it doesn't belong!

In 4b, the deepest levels still lay underwater, but diggers worked to define & examine the higher, drier N/S ditches. Meanwhile, to the west, zone 7 was expanded significantly, and a rough (or roughly preserved) SW/NE road with drain started taking shape. Just south of 7, a brand new trench, 8, was opened. Early days, though first photos show what appear to be randomly strewn boulders and little distinguishable archaeology.

And across the Stanegate, heavy equipment took back the turf of a new trench in the North Field (not pictured on map). No word of what, if anything, the first week there brought for features or finds.

A rainoff on Thursday, but beyond that a very busy week. In an increasingly large & typically confused/confusing part of Vindolanda. Very many thanks to bishpt for the photos & commentary throughout the week, all of which can be seen here.

EDIT, 4 June: A nice update from LouisaJones describes the huge & early perimeter ditch in 4b that runs N/S and seems to be curving eastward near the later aqueduct. She reports fragments of fine glassware, a tent panel, an intact shoe sole, and a stamped & very datable large piece of samian plate! Stamps & inscriptions on samian are an excellent way to pin down the date a ditch was in use, so a great find!

EDIT 5, June: Great set of pics from GrahamShrimpton detailing the work in area 7, including excavation of the cobbled road and its south-side drain. As well as what appears to be maybe a collapsed wall peeking out of the western edge of the trench. Work in area 7 is trying to trace the long-sought spring that was (and still is) the source of Vindolanda's huge amounts of groundwater

Feedback on weekly trench maps
Sunny & Gillian, it's easy enough for me to continue with a wider shot as well as the zoomed-in one if that's helpful. They're both pulled from the same original PowerPoint file so no biggie to keep a link to the "bigger picture."

And Justin, I think I'm really starting to feel this grid idea. Want to get some more input from folks over the next several days and see what others think.

Feedback on weekly trench maps
I hate that Google Earth's last flyover was 2002. And Microsoft Bing is worse, back at 2000! I did superimpose the Google Earth one to do up my plan. It looks like my plan has gotten stretched a bit in places from various rescaling over the past year or so. Good to know, I'll recheck & resquish!

But wow, that 10m scale is promising isn't it? Only Q: Will it work for the entire site (excepting North Field)? Apparently next year the plan is to work the exact opposite part of Vindolanda -- the far SE quadrant of the visible fort. If, say, the NW corner of the entire Vindolanda site was "A1," what would that make the SE corner?

Feedback on weekly trench maps
Hey all. If you have a chance, check out the new zoomed-in map for the dig for Week 8.

Does this make it easier or harder to make sense of what's going on? If someone posts a photo, will this map help orient where it is and what you're seeing? All feedback welcome!

Also, Justin-T had a very interesting idea for doing the plans going forward. Check it out. A site-wide grid that stays the same from year to year. So you can know if you're in "A5" or "C8" etc. Would love to hear more feedback on that too.

In the end, it's all about making WeDig the most useful to the most people.

Slide show of Digger's Day 2011
That's a really cool idea. Thanks for the link.

Area of Excavations 2012
END of WEEK 8
(May 21 - May 25)

Major trench extensions, an old cobbled road, drains a-plenty, features in the far west, and a massive early wall next to the aqueduct. This is what a sun-filled week can bring!

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Brief word about the new plan. Given feedback, it seemed necessary to zoom in, add detail in places, and simplify in others. Old 7a is now a pool so is gone from the map. 7b & 7c now make a nice simple "7." Short-lived "4d" is now more sensible "5." The plan now includes roads (with the mottled appearance), known ditches (the thin gray lines), and the huge east-west wall that's come up parallel to the aqueduct.

Week 8 brought a first for 2012 -- bright, hot sun and a full work week! And much was done. The area to the south of the aqueduct was extended substantially ("5" on the map), revealing a probably early road running diagonally toward the fort. Between the aqueduct and the road, an earlier set of 3 N/S ditches/culverts was slowly being excavated back (the gray lines on the map). Just north of the aqueduct, the massive early (Antonine?) east-west wall just kept growing. The pro's believe that it runs far to the east, under the visitor's path. What would it have been??

Down in 4b, the two long N/S ditches just west of the later vicus road became easier to see & understand as the ground dried a bit. South of that, 4c was extended southward almost to the visitor path crossroads, and a second road drain was discovered merging with the main drain. The beautiful N/S vicus roadway got its final cleanup and photographs.

To the far west, old areas 7b & c were merged, and a strange circle-ish stone feature emerged next to the rectangular one discovered the week before. The stonework seems quite rough, so probably foundation stones at best?

Reports of finds were limited, though a gorgeous intact blue glass "melon bead" came up.

Looks like a great week. Many thanks to snowglobe and especially sarcanon for tons of great photos, all of which are available here!

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