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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!

Ancient jigsaw is pieced back... 5/18/2007
Original article can be found at: http://www.hexham-courant.co.uk/news/viewa...c=304&id=499861

Ancient jigsaw is pieced back together after 2,000 years apart
Published on 18/05/2007


A TWO THOUSAND year-old jigsaw puzzle has intrigued and delighted archaeologists at Tynedale’s most prolific Roman site.

One of the most treasured discoveries at the Vindolanda site near Bardon Mill is a rare fragment of painted glass, depicting gladiators in action.

The beautiful drinking vessel was unearthed in 1991 during the excavation of a ditch.

The highly decorated shard has intrigued and fascinated thousands of visitors to Vindolanda ever since, and more than one person has wondered what happened to the rest of the cup.

Now, against all odds, another substantial fragment of the same cup has just been unearthed.

Remarkably, it was found some 45 metres away from where the first piece was found.

The two pieces are an exact match and fit together with seamless perfection. The original gladiators are now happily joined by coloured figures depicting comrades, sponsors of the games and a possible referee.

Director of excavations Andrew Birley said: “ This is an astounding set of circumstances and my first thoughts were that we now had pieces of two of these rare glass bowls.

“The recent piece comes from a firmly stratified and datable level of c. 230-250 AD in what appears at the moment to be the home of a wealthy person.

“Part of the broken vessel must have been cleared out and dumped into the fort ditch with other rubbish while our most recent piece remained inside the building.

“The perfect fit of the two pieces, thought to have been manufactured and decorated at Cologne in the lower Rhineland, is beyond question and we now have the most comprehensive example of this type of decorated glass to be found from Roman Britain.”

The 2007 Vindolanda excavations continue until early September.

Visitors can watch archaeologists and volunteers from the UK and beyond uncover more of this fascinating Roman site and enjoy the extensive visitor facilities.

"AAAA Team" alias "Human JCBs"
Great postcard. Talk about lumps and bumps!

- Harry

The Severan period
Yeah. Those freaking roundhouses. :D

Things that (to me) make no sense:

1: The size of the Severan fort. It's tiny, less than 1/3 as big as the Antonine fort. Surely it wasn't intended as a fort in the usual sense.

2: The general shape. It's all out of whack. Somebody with clout changed the rules bigtime. Who in the Empire was allowed to do that?

3: Locating the fort on the sloping ground west of the Antonine fort. Wouldn't the Antonine platform have been a much easier building site?

4: The lack of anything resembling a usual headquarters. It looks like the relationship between the commander & the troops was unusual. Was this group of soldiers subject to radically different routines & regimens? Why?

5: The lack of a defensive ditch on the east side. Even if the roundhouse occupants were "good guys" and not "potentially bad guys," surely you've got to have a ditch all the way around your fort, don't you?

So what was going on? Emperor's field camp? Staging point for reconstruction of the Wall, using local labor in local-type houses doing on-site construction work? Temporary citadel of an undocumented usurper with a combo of Romanized soldiery & a loyal band of local tribesmen?

Or just a bad idea for a "new model fort" that died out almost as soon as the plaster was dry?

- H

The Severan period
OK. So I'm reading the 05-06 excavation report. (Excellent stuff, IMHO.) A thought re the Severan period: It just seems too weird, and too small, to be a fort doesn't it? To my very amateur eye, it looks more like a place where one very important person ruled with a small number of hand-picked guards. Could it have been Severus and his praetorians? Was it well-built enough for an Emperor?

I know, I know. Everybody always wants their favorite site to have been the biggest & the best & the most important. So maybe it's cheeky even to consider it. But there's evidence of an enormous, well-built building fit for Hadrian from the 120s isn't there? Not to mention all the new evidence of Legionary activity and extremely well-built Antonine structures. It seems like Vindolanda was a place well-known for 80 years as a good spot for important people to do important things.

- Harry

The end of the story
Sounds like a good read, and thanks for the post. Gets my mind back to the idea of the "end." Chris makes great points. Just because I might look back and see the collapse of architectural knowledge, paved roads, aqueducts, bath facilities, etc., as some horrible calamity, that doesn't necessarily mean that a local living through it would see it the same way. It could have been a very liberating time in many ways.

I guess that's kind of what I'm trying to find out about Vindolanda; does the evidence lend any ideas at all about how the people there viewed this momentous change? Or was it such a gradual change that it was barely noticed? Did the removal of a money economy affect the frontier the same way that it affected the Romanized towns down south? Or by 410 had the Wall become so much a subsistence lifestyle that very little changed at all? And like Chris says, were the locals actually "Romanized" at all, or were they separate from the whole "Romanization" whose decay is so obvious?

I love this stuff.

- Harry

online or distance learning courses?
I've heard great things about Leicester's programs. If you want just a little personal knowledge they have certificate courses, or you can go the Master's track. Their uni Web site (don't remember the URL offhand) does a good job of spelling out what they offer.

- Harry