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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!

Lecture: Architectual & Archaeological Society
17th March 2007 - 2: 30pm

Elvet Riverside
Durham

A lecture on the recent findings from the Vindolanda excavations by Andrew Birley

35 th Annual Archaeology Forum, Lancaster
Lecure title: Vindolanda, size does matter.

Setting: Lancaster Universiy on the 3rd of March 2007.

11:30am - 12:10pm


Stanegate
The wheelbarrow,

This years must have accessory for the excavations. Those best dressed sport a little French number called the Hamerlin. Long handled with a good suspension, the Hamerlin is the barrow of choice for all those who care how they look while knackered. Of course, if youíre a chav you may opt for the English equivalent. They look good enough at first but after a few days the rust sets in, the wheel deflates and the nuts drop off.

:unsure:

Stanegate
Matt,

I skipped the MA and went right to the PhD.

Andy

Stanegate
Matt,

You don't have a spare couple of million do you? Harry might offer something here, but I am not sure if I can afford the payments!

:rolleyes:

Andy

Lecture at University of Liverpool
Hi,

I have contacted someone at Liverpool Uni (Helen Murphy) and she has said the more the merrier, so all are welcome.

Andy

Stanegate
Matt,

Your not allowed to use a metal detector on Scheduled land. Doing work needs an SMC and the landowners permission. Landowners don't like to give permission and to get an SMC you need 6months and a team of specialists lined up. Oh, and lots of cash, a museum to take the finds (should the landowner not want them, as everything belongs to the landowner) and a conservation lab............and a publication date...the list goes on and on....

But you are correct, these places could and in some cases probably were used for more than a one night B&B, however, short of someone dropping a couple of million pounds into the Vindolanda Trust bank account, we will probably neve know. Which is sad, but there it is.

Andy

P.S. nothing solid on the antiquarian front on this one, although things do turn up many miles from the site.

New arrivals
Harry,

a girl eh? good news, means that potty taining will be quicker! And as for names, don't tell anyone what you decide until the baby is born, otherwise you will find someone with that name you either detest, or, someone you know names their pet with the name you have chosen.

lepidina does sound a bit like something has dropped off.

Andy

Stanegate
Hi Matt, lots and lots of question in this one. I'll do my best.

1. Date for the camp bisected by the stanegate? No, although it could easily be pre or post stanegate. Why? The main road could have gone right through the middle. Also worth considering is that this may be more than a camp, something a little more permanent. Until some excavation is timetabled for this area we simply will not know.

2. The road path. Well, the situation of Vindolanda is strange from a purely defensive perspective, mostly as Barcombe hill overlooks the site, as do the hills to the north and west, and letís face it, there is a hill to the south which partially blocks the view of the Tyne valley below as well. However, from a logistical perspective, it is an excellent location. More important than the road (which never went directly though the fort, but always passed it to the north) is the fresh water supply, the mineral wealth of the surrounding hillsides, coal, iron, lead, and of course clay and lime stone. Added to this the land to expand which is to the west, and you have a pretty good location. To compensate for the military issues they place the signal towers on Barcombe Hill, which gives that extra view and links the fort into the frontier system. Logistically, most forts probably faced either east west (to their extramural areas and supply) or north to the main road. There is not much to suggest the presence of a road before the Romans arrived. Infact the debate recently has been 'did the early forts have a road at all?'

Tumuli Ė there are plenty of them, most have been holed by antiquarian excavators or farmers, and some are disputed in origin as either archaeological features or post glacial features. Iron age bods do not seem to want to bother with them in this area, so we are somewhat non the wiser.

Ploughing Ė not much in this area. Although last year I did notice ploughing going on at Great Chesters in the field to the south of the fort. This may be breaking the law, it would be if the land has been scheduled, as ploughing is generally forbidden on such land. But most land around here is pasture, no crops, so not much point in field walking, unless you want to kick over mole hills (which is always fun, and I have uncovered bits of pottery that way before).

New arrivals
Another pic

New arrivals
Cheers Chris,

Happy New year to you. Are you coming down to the lecture at Liverpool on the 24th of Jan?

Andy

details below:

Title: Vindolanda, challenging perceptions of faith, cultural cohesion and identity on a military settlement.


Abstract:

Vindolanda, a small auxiliary fort on the northern frontier of Roman Britain, is perhaps most remarkable for the discoveries that have been made there over the last 36 years, rather than the place itself. The most important of those discoveries have been the writing tablets, small, thin postcards, which dutifully record fragments of the daily lives and aspirations of four out of the ten known or presumed garrisons from the site. While illuminating, the tablets do not offer us the full story of Roman occupation at Vindolanda, and it is only when these documents are put into the contexts from which they were discovered, and compared with other evidence from the site, that a more textured picture can be drawn from what it was like to live at Vindolanda form the end of 1st century to the end of the 4th century. The picture is one of great diversity, a military site that offers evidence of different cultures from practically all corners of the Roman world, but not all in the same period, and not always living in harmony with their neighbours, the Brittunculi.

Hedley Building Arch. Assessment
Hi Duncan,

Sorry it has taken a while to get back to you on this one. Our plans were to conduct a full excavation should we have found anything on the proposed site. The land is not protected, so we would not have reuired an SMC for the work, and The Vindolanbda Trust is the landowner. However, the Trust would have had to modify its plans for the study center to avoid anything archaeological in that area had we found something. Sadly, nothing there, although to be honest, we didnt expect anything. Just one of the various hoops you have to jump through these days.

More fun will be the full excavation report for the past two years of work, which should be out by the beginning of June.

The new shed
Here it is, the new shed

Stanegate
I am starting to wonder if military building at Vindolanda has less to do with doctorine than personal taste. For instance the Antonine commander of the fort build his HQB facing south, but he also filled it with murals and scultpure worhiping the sun god. Would not be much sense in facing the building north under those circumstances. However, I am quite happy to concede that both a threat and a possible centre of population may have been to the south as well. Alas, neither of these have yet to be determined beyond doubt. Most settlement in Northumberland during the iron age seems to have been hill top related. Probably due to the lackof drainage in the valleys, and the scrub oak, brambles and good hunting.

The new shed
The New Shed,

Alas no. The new shed is an office for the excavation staff, although it does have its own coffee facilities :-) I will be painting and cleaning out the old faithful shed for the new season, and I have replaced all of those dodgy picknick tables with newer benches. Sadly no satellite TV just yet.


Andy

Vindolanda in archaeological journals
Hi Guys,

Well, we tend to do a lot with current archaeology as they ask us for information. British Archaeology magaine prefers to have people submit things to them, like a journal. So..one is journalistic, the other is not...... :-) And yes it is time that is partially to blame for us not covering every magazine. Although in all fareness, Current Archaeology does have a wider readership than the other one, and is more for the people, like us :-)


Andy

Stanegate
Hi Guys,

There are some excavated stretches of the stanegate that you can go and walk on, the best known is the high street running through ancient Corbidge. The road is most likely to have been mettled for most of the way, rather than flagged, although flagging may have been used to posh up some sections that travelled through settlements like Corbridge and the linear development of the extramural settlement at Carvoran, Carlisle etc.

However, as part of the 2008-2013 excavation plans at Vindolanda, we hope to put a trench across where we think the road runs (through the north field) to locate the road and see just what it was made of as it runs past Vindolanda. I take it we can sign you three gents up for that trench? A real modern road gang, I'll get the uniforms ready for the three of you.

best,


Andrew

The 2007 excavations season
Dear Excavators,

A happy New Year to you all. It is now only three months before we are back in the trenches, and all of the staff at Vindolanda are looking forward to meeting you through the course of the year.

All the very best,


Andrew

Director of Excavations
The Vindolanda Trust