Welcome Guest [Log In] [Register]

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 of Excavations 2012
The weekly-updated "Area of Excavations" page was a hit in 2011, so it makes its return for '12!

The area marked in blue below is the zone that was being excavated at the end of 2011, which I believe is the starting point for '12.
Posted Image

The dig will be focusing on the vicus -- the civilian settlement that lay to the west of the visible fort. The vicus is almost entirely 3rd Century. It seems to have sprung up as the IV Gauls set up shop in about AD 213. (They're the ones who built the fort-proper that is on display today.) It thrived through most of the 3rd C, but seems to have dwindled as the century came to a close. By AD 300 it was almost thoroughly demolished/out of use -- even though the fort itself continued on.

If trenches get deeper than vicus layers, the picture may include parts of the weirdly-shaped early 3rd C Severan fort; late 2nd C military annexes; and even parts of the large early 2nd C forts-proper. Preservation is usually good once down a meter or so, so fencing, timber posts, and the like may be seeing the light of day again this year.

Any & all updates, pictures, & advice from WeDig'ers about where you're digging and what you're finding are appreciated. They'll go into keeping this guide accurate & up-to-date as the season goes on.

Happy digging!

Spotlight On...
Hi again all. With the trenches opening in just a couple days, don't forget the resources available to WeDig'ers in the Digger's Guide. Of special interest may be the Webcam feeds & weather information at the So How's the Weather? page. As of now all the feeds except Hexham Abbey seem to be live & working. A bright day on Winshields, and Walltown -- and a lot of folks visiting Cawfields to see the sights.

Happy digging!

A nearby walk through the Shire
Back in '06 some friends and I took a nice stroll down Haltwhistle Burn. It's a lovely walk. Starts up high by the Milecastle Inn, and gently ambles down through woodlands and fields, past ruined kilns and factories, into Haltwhistle itself.

When I stumbled on this tree, I swore a Hobbit or two had just darted behind it.
Posted Image

The dig at Vindolanda is so fun. But if you have a chance in the evenings, explore the highways & byways. It's always rewarding!

Updated "History of Excavations"
One of the "Digger's Guide" pages I'm rather proud of is a little visual "history of the excavations" at Vindolanda since Anthony Hedley first start looking seriously at it in 1815. I've just updated the page with 2011's revelations. Check it out! Put your mouse over any year on the right to see the state of the visible excavations then. Press the mouse button down to read a little blurb about what was done that year.

Temple Avenue progression
Hi all! Wow. Just a few days until trowels & spades break the earth again. I've been spending time looking back over the amazing photos & stories from the 2011 season.

I've managed to find & pull a series of shots looking up "Temple Avenue" to show how much it changed over the months. Many thanks to so many WeDig'ers who posted photos & made it possible.

Posted Image
Late April '11

Posted Image
Early May (late drain gone near left, exposing full roundhouse)

Posted Image
End of May (late road surface gone)

Posted Image
Beginning of July (digging down into 2nd C layers)

Posted Image
Mid-July (summer deluge)

Posted Image
Mid-September (end of the dig, consolidation beginning)

Posted Image
January post-consolidation

What a difference a year can make! And what an experience for visitors to be able to walk up a Roman alley with a feel for the barracks on both sides.

Look forward to reading & enjoying WeDig'er posts & pictures this year. Happy digging everybody!

Roman Paris
Wow, those baths are astounding! We visited Paris first back in '97, and the last night there I was wandering around and got a lousy photo of it from the outside. Had no idea how big & intact & cool it was on the inside!

Tick off the days to digging
Honored by the shoutout Tim!

When worlds collide
Worlds have collided again! One of the most impressive tales at Vindolanda is the rushed clear-out from the fort in summer 105 when the Batavians got marching orders to go fight on the Continent. Figuring out just what happened -- and when -- by the material left behind is a -great- detective story. I applied it to studying all the plastic bits & bobs that continuously wash into shorelines around the world. It's all archaeology, and every last bit of it has a story to tell, if we can figure it out.


Where to go?
Love the pics! Esp Hermitage. I love that it sits in this valley with the hills all around, like the weight of it has just pushed the land down.

Sue, how long a ride is Lindisfarne? We did it back in '03 but took the lazy route. I always wondered if it was possible to hit it in a late afternoon & get back.

If you haven't seen it yet, don't miss the milecastle at Poltross Burn in Gilsland (Gilsland? Greenhead? Maybe Greenhead.) Milecastle #48 on the maps, one of the best preserved ones. There's a great stretch of Wall running west of that too all the way down to what's left of the bridge abutment at the Irthing.

Where to go?
Mar 1 2012, 01:01 PM
I have never been to Durham, and am planning a side trip there.
An excellent idea! Great city, and the cathedral is beyond compare.

If you go down that way, also check out Escomb Church. It was built ~AD 700, mostly from stone pilfered from ruins of nearby Binchester fort. (Including an old gateway arch that was rebuilt stone for stone.) In the 60s they built a housing estate right around it; makes a neat contrast with its neighbors.

Brief Outage Fixed
Hi all. Sorry for the dead air this morning. Servers & forwarders stopped playing nicely with each other. But all fixed now.

Where to go?
There is -so- much neat stuff to see. The 4 things listed in the Digger's Guide are just the tip. (I really need to update & add more.) Senhouse is excellent. Also worth a visit:

* The Hermitage -- an extra grim & atmospheric castle just over the border in Scotland. Not your typical castle or surrounding; just a really moody, interesting place.

* Corbridge -- The ruins are amazing and the area to explore is pretty big. Also a nice museum there.

* Dilston Castle -- Just south of Corbridge. Originally a 13th C Manor, it expanded & grew & grew until the owners in the 17th 18th C picked the wrong side in the Jacobite uprising. The Crown took the castle and knocked down -everything- except the original small manor that wasn't "tainted" with heresy. There's a beautiful old chapel there, a nice long carriage road leading down to a gorgeous early 17th C bridge over the Devil's Water. Really good place.

* Beltingham churchyard -- Just a few miles from Vindolanda, an -ancient- yew tree standing there, held together by iron railings. Also there were at least 2 inscribed stones from Vindolanda found there over the years -- one giving the name of the troops the IV Gauls, that were at Vindo all through the 3rd & 4th Cs. (That inscription was carved over & lost now.) Beautiful little hamlet & churchyard.

A million others, such a cool part of the world.