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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!

Midges! How bad are they really?
When the wind would die down and the midges would come out, I used to spray enough high-power Off in my face that my lips went numb. It was worth it.

I remember those late June folks. A sketchy lot if I recall. :$

I'm actually caught up. Everyone who's sent in a request should be up there now. Been getting new names as well as veterans, which is cool. I'll be sending a WeDig-wide email soon-ish as a little welcome to new folks, and a brief reminder of the various nooks & crannies that are here on the site now. Included will be a link straight to the Roll Call. There will be no escape!

- Harry

Citizen Science & Crowdsourcing
Great article on how scientists can tap the time, energy, & enthusiasm of regular folks to help answer big questions -- such as transcribing half a million pieces of papyri that have lain unloved for a century since their discovery! How Crowdsourcing Is Changing Science

Roll Call 2012 - Who's Coming?
The Roll Call for 2011 was another big hit, and calls for the '12 version have started. So We Dig Vindolanda proudly presents: Roll Call 2012!

Some people may like to plan get-togethers, share rides, etc. Others may just want to see who's coming. The Roll Call will give you a resource to do both. As before, if you'd like fellow WeDig'ers to know when you're going to be digging in '11, just send me an e-mail or personal message (simply click my name on any post or thread to access either option), and I'll add you straightaway. (Forgive me if there's lag time at first -- busy days here!)

2 Apr - 6 Apr: Sue and Joanna Munro, Margaret S
9 Apr - 13 Apr: Sue and Joanna Munro
16 Apr - 20 Apr: maryb_10, lesandmax, steph & Jess
23 Apr - 27 Apr: maryb_10, lesandmax
30 Apr - 4 May: snowglobe
7 May - 11 May: Badger, mooseandhobbes, Brinno, snowglobe, Fiona D, Fred & Mardy, TerryS & Pauline, Mike & Malise McGuire, davidgoldwater
14 May - 18 May: Badger, sarcanon, mooseandhobbes, hearnt, Fiona D, Mike & Malise McGuire, Claire_M
21 May - 25 May: sarcanon, Mike C, Mike & Malise McGuire
28 May - 1 June:
4 June - 8 June: kaycham, bandtmet, SophieDobson
11 June - 15 June: kaycham, Rosie, Margaret S, bandtmet, SophieDobson, Averil&Ian
18 June - 22 June: sharpjv, MissClareCharlotte, Rosie, snowglobe
25 June - 29 June: sharpjv, cclugston, Cestrian, snowglobe
2 July - 6 July: cclugston, Cestrian
9 July - 13 July: Margaret S, Terry S & PaulineM, Latium.L (Lin & Wendy), Lynda
16 July - 20 July: Justin-T, NicC, emjharding (Elizabeth H & Rens Z)
23 July - 27 July: NicC, Alan, emjharding (Elizabeth H & Rens Z)
30 July - 3 Aug: Sarah G, Alan
6 Aug - 10 Aug: Sian, Sarah G
13 Aug - 17 Aug: Sian, Gellan
20 Aug - 24 Aug: Rhona & Fiona Ritchie, Dougie, davidgoldwater
27 Aug - 31 Aug: mooseandhobbes, Margaret S, Rhona & Fiona Ritchie, gwenc

Happy digging!

Such a great post Andy. Much obliged for taking the time to lay so many thoughts out.

Re #6, lest the Trust draw the wrong conclusion, there's a second explanation. If people expected to dig and instead spent half a precious (to them) day doing something else, that might be the cause of some of the grumbling. My experience was a mix. I grumbled, but I also did enjoy getting hands on technology and being part of a team doing the next step.

Who knows, the reverse situation might also be true -- if you had a week-long surveying course and suddenly half of one day volunteers were in the trenches getting muddy & dirty there might be grumbling too!

- Harry

PS: Pete, well said. It's hard to be part of Vindolanda & not want to keep coming back. My feeling anyway!

Thanks! I improved from '05 when I missed not one but -two- stamps while Robin stood over my shoulder shaking his head disappointedly.

Re the smithing, etc. -- might be the right vision, might not. The one thing we know for sure is times are changing. There is -such- a passion for diving into these ancient sites, being part of learning about them, discovery, etc. There's clearly far more interest in coming to Vindolanda than there are current spaces to accommodate. Every person that gets turned away is a possible future leader in the field, not to mention a definite current spender-of-money!

With sites maturing, the focus is going to shift from excavation over to maintenance, reconstruction, restoration, preservation. It's nice to picture a Vindolanda that's not just the premier excavation/museum/research facility in the region, but also a leader in these fields too.

There were also the discussions some months back about expanding what a Vindolanda experience could mean. If there's only so much room in the trenches, there still might be ways for volunteers to be actively involved. Cleaning, recording, cataloging, surveying. There are so many questions to be asked about a site & the landscape around it. I mean, clearly digging is the *boom* -- who doesn't love the thrill of holding something that hasn't been seen in 1800 years? But if the supply outstrips the demand so much, maybe it's worth looking again at expanding the "supply."

Like, long-term exposure/preservation. Obviously some of the stones revealed in the 1930s (and even the 60s/70s) now have heavy lichen growth on them. And it was shown that over the winter the Antonine sandstone broke apart from freeze/thaw in just a year. With 70 years' worth of excavations at Vindolanda, it'd be interesting to run a program looking at the various conservation techniques & histories. See what works, what doesn't. What holds up well, what breaks down.

Beyond that, there could be room for volunteers/students to learn about traditional crafting/smithing/stoneworking. I think of Pompeii, where the old, exposed walls are starting to collapse more frequently. The more of these sites we expose for the public, the more there'll need to be crews who have experience maintaining & preserving them. Personally I'd have a blast spending a week on-site learning, say, traditional blacksmithing or stoneworking. Masonry pointing. Even the art of harvesting/drying/laying out bracken carpet.

My two coppers.

An Archeology Fix
May -- or may not -- have laughed at the "coin with the coconuts" reference. Great post! Never knew there were only ever 30 or so true obelisks.

Hooray! A Happy Sunny and a Happy Harry in the same day.

Thanks to an exceptionally kind e-mail tip from an unnamed WeDig'er (thank you!), I checked again, and am booked & confirmed.

Augh. Got teased. Checked this morning, and my week had opened up! Signed up for it, went to get my credit card, got back to desk, and *poof* it was gone again. So mean.

Congrats to those who got in. Amazing to see such an appetite for the site & the dig.

Missed my May slots by logging on 7 min. past the hour. My bad, I guess?

Will go on wait-list and see if something comes up. Hope to get over one way or another to enjoy the Tynedale air and see friends again next May!