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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!

More about Week 3
Terry & Pauline have compiled another set of amazing photos, this time from Week 3. The set in its entirety (with captions) can be found here. Below are a few excerpts.

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"The Dolicheneum consolidation. Looking north at the consolidation."

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"Barrack block looking south east. After lunch in very hot weather, diggers returning to trowelling duties."

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"Barrack block looking south after lunch. Whole team shown working on different rooms. Bill, John, Terry and Pete at the top. Pete's wearing a French legion style hat, he's not just a body part this time."

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"Barrack block looking east. Close up of previous photo. Antonine road goes under the barracks' wall."

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"Clearing up looking west. Centre of photo, progress in 4 rooms in a row."

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"Jim looking over his and Dilys' area at clearing up time. Looking south - Antonine road to the right, drain in the middle and oven to the left (slightly over the drain)."

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"Clearing up time looking south. Drain in centre. Antonine road and curve of a Severan roundhouse to the right."

Follow the 2011 dig on twitter
As a heads-up, Justin's taking an early-season holiday, so the Twitter feed likely won't be updated for the next week or two. But it'll be back! In the meantime, WeDig'ers, please send in pics, thoughts, stories. It's looking like a great year.

Area of Excavations 2011
END OF WEEK 3

Work seems to have shifted to a much-expanded Site #2 on the map. Site #3, the Dolicheneum (temple complex to Jupiter Dolichenus) is undergoing conservation for permanent display.

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(larger version available by clicking here)

Site #2 on the map sits in the rightmost of 3 barrack-rows that occupy the NW quarter of the latest fort, "Stone Fort II." Diggers are excavating down through this Stone Fort II barrack block to the earlier Antonine fort below, "Stone Fort I." Well-preserved Antonine barracks & road systems are starting to show up in these deeper levels. This earlier fort layout seems to be shifted 4-5 meters to the right (east) of the later fort. The map above shows the layout of the latest fort. You can see that the main north-south road runs just to the east of the barrack in Site #2, with a smaller alley just to the west of that barrack. The same system is showing up for the Antonine fort underneath, just shifted to the right.

Sandwiched between SFI and SFII is a very short-lived period, the "Severan" occupation of about AD 208-213. In ~AD 208 the whole of SFI was knocked to the ground, and the area was instead covered by bizarre "roundhouses." Reason still unknown! But at least one of these roundhouses has been found between SFI and SFII in Site #2 (photos coming), including its foundations and an oven.

Week 3
I wanted to expand on one of Terry & Pauline's pictures because it's just so cool:

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Here's a quick plan showing where the picture was taken and at what angle:

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And here's what you're looking at:

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The orange starting at the right side going into the distance shows the flagstones of the main N/S road within Stone Fort II -- the last fort built at Vindolanda. Most of the flagstones in the middle of the road were removed centuries ago, but here a thin strip of the right (east) side of the road remains.

Corresponding to that road are the green walls to the left. These are barrack walls from the 3rd Century, possibly refashioned as mixed soldier/civilian housing in the 4th Century, and probably reused on into the 5th Century by post-Romans.

In the middle, the light and dark blue bits are from a completely different, earlier period. The light blue marks barrack walls from the Antonine fort. This is known as "Stone Fort I." It was built around AD 160, modified ~AD 180, and demolished ~AD 208. The dark blue surfaces are roughly the floor levels of this Antonine barrack. It appears to be the centurion's quarters for this particular barrack row.

Same site, two utterly different forts. You can even see that the SFII fort was shifted about 15 feet to the left compared to the SFI fort. (This is why the Antonine barrack wall is found directly under the SFII road.) The two cohorts never knew each other, or intermingled. Yet their lives directly overlay each other.

Week 3
Photos (and captions) from Terry & Pauline from Week 3, Day 1:
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Photo taken after lunch when the team in the foreground, shown digging the Centurion's Quarters, get back to work against a backdrop of other diggers.

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Looking north at clearing up time. Showing progress from week one in barrack area in Stone fort.

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Looking south, a close up of progress in digging the Centurion's Quarters by the end of the day. Hoping to come across a wall coming from the west into the top third of the area as we dig down at some time during the week.

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Another shot showing more detail of the road in the area described in previous photos. You can see how much of the road - right of the photo - has been taken out by now.

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Area next door previous photos, looking north at the end of the day.

Area of Excavations 2011
END OF WEEK 2

The areas being uncovered in Week 2 appear to be the same as Week 1.
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(larger version available by clicking here)

Limited news from WeDig'ers so far from Week 2. Justin's Twitter feed shows activity in (I believe) Site #2 on the map, largely in the Antonine levels. That's late 2nd Century, "Stone Fort I." The visible fort is "Stone Fort II," built mostly over the flattened remains of SFI. Justin mentions maybe hitting a centurion's apartment. The centurion headed a "century" or company of soldiers -- 80 or so men. Each barrack row in a Roman fort held a century. The centurion's apartment sat at one end. Regular soldiers slept several to a room, but the centurion lived in relative luxury, with a multi-room apartment of his own.

Let the fun begin!
Canon Photo Album links not playing nicely. Captured the mid-sized pics and placed them into WeDig Admin section, they should show up & behave now!

Vindolanda novel - cut price on amazon
Bought! I sold my old Kindle but have downloaded the Kindle for PC app. Looking forward to the read!

Let the fun begin!
Oops, the original link to Terry & Pauline's Canon album didn't work. This one should!

Let the fun begin!
And the last batch from Terry S. Great shots, thx much for sharing!!
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"I think you need to press the red button Andy."
"Where is it Justin?"

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Weather much improved - it got better as the week went on. The Via Decumana is probably under the diggers, not too far down.

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John, at left, clearing possible robbed out foundations of a wall.

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Looking north. Stone Fort 2 barrack wall still heading north, but expected to turn right about two feet further on. Week 2 should have cracked it by now.

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No more dirty finger nails for a while! 80% of Team Centurion, at the end. Apparently, we weren't too far from a Centurion's quarters.

Let the fun begin!
More from Terry S here:
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To the right of the flags, the barrack wall of Stone Fort 2. This continued past the excavators and then possibly turning to the east.

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Earlier barrack wall of Stone Fort 1 looking south.

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West of the North gate, in the Temple area (looking north). The wet conditions never got worse than those shown and radically improved throughout the week.

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Forms (only one sheet this time folks!) nearly completed. Supervisor Kevin hovering.

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Our refugee from the vicus. He fitted in well. He's happy because he has a red tee shirt and the rest of us haven't. Team Centurion pretending to work whilst he's there.

Let the fun begin!
Terry S has posted a collection of Week 1 shots here. (They've helped me flesh out the Area of Excavations Wk 1 post.) Below are the low-res mid-sized shots from the album, with captions.
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"Team Centurion" in front of, to the south of, the North gate. Justin was standing on one of the large flags.

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In the foreground, two Picts who made it over Hadrian's Wall. Val and Ed will probably come back next year.

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Just when you want to relax and have a much deserved cup of tea/coffee, a form to fill in.
Looks like it was all too much for the chap at bottom left.

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Looking west. Large flagstones off picture to the left. Short journey to the spoilheap through the North gate. Hallelujah!

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Geordie bottom with two Scottish frontages. Ground initially wet, but dried up nicely with the prevailing wind. Not too many finds all week - two nice bits of thick amphora handle and bits and pieces of pottery.

Photo Sharing Finally Made Simple!
Shouldn't be any problems at all -- feel free to give it a try. If anything goes wonky, we'll figure it out.

Area of Excavations 2011
END OF WEEK 1
** updated 12 April**

Many thanks for notes from Terry S and Hadriana, plus a nice e-mail from Andy. Below shows the opening week.
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(larger version available by clicking here)

Terry S reports digging near the surface following the barrack wall that runs just to the east of the main north-south road within the fort. (The road with many of its impressive flagstones still in place.) Site #1 on the map. This would be the upper layers, 4th-5th Century (and beyond?). Next to him, a team worked in the area of the 3rd Century temple discovered in 2009 -- Site #3 on the map; unsure what levels there.

Hadriana reports working in the front of the barracks, Site #2 on the map. She and crews next to her were working a bit north of the area where the north-south road (the via praetoria) meets the east-west road (the via principalis). She reports the usual finds of pottery, nails, metal bits. But also a carved stone and -- amazingly -- a "measuring tape" stone with lines and triangles notched into it to help builders mark out buildings/roads. Too cool. Her crews are also comparatively deep down. She seems to have spent some time in 3rd Century levels (the early years of the visible Stone Fort II), but also worked on at least one Antonine era road. (That would be late 2nd Century, part of the leveled Stone Fort I. The road may be the equivalent to the visible via praetoria. Parts of this older N/S road were discovered in late 2010.)

Looks like the weather was (mostly) conducive to diving right in. Hat's off to first-week'ers, and many thanks for the reports! I think it's going to be fun watching this unfold.

Let the fun begin!
Great notes! I really like the sound of the Thursday night buffets too, nice touch.

Are you just to the right (east) of the flagstone-paved north-south road that leads from the HQ out to the North Gate? (Trying to visualize so I can update the plan.) I think I remember that the beginnings of the barrack wall was found there late last year.

1st Eyewitness Account of Vindolanda
Today being the 1st day of the '11 season, it seemed appropriate to go back to the very beginning of Vindolanda's rediscovery. So a little "bump" for this page. And a nod to Dr. Hunter. Do you think he could have foreseen the 300+ years of interest that would follow his writing of this little letter?

Let the fun begin!
It's showtime! Here's hoping for great weather, great crews, great fun, and some great archaeology. All WeDig'ers, any thoughts/pics you have of the opening week, please send them. Either a post here, or even a quick one-line text/email to text_style@hotmail.com if that's all you have a chance for.

Happy digging!