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!

DealsFor.me - The best sales, coupons, and discounts for you
  • Pages:
  • 1
Museum or an art gallery?
How objects are presented or displayed in a gallery or a museum is an important part of what makes a gallery or museum a success or a failure, regardless of what that museum is about, or how important the collection is. Many museums concentrate on the visually appealing, and spend thousands of pounds on artistic displays, creative lighting and creating space around which an object can sit.

However, while an object might look good, and as a visitor you may come to greatly appreciate the wonder of ancient technology or the creativity of a past civilisation, do you leave with any more understanding of the true meaning of what you have seen?

So here are a series of questions to think about:

1. What is your favourite museum or gallery?
2. Which museum of gallery do you think of most fondly form your childhood?
3. Do you generally prefer galleries or museums?
4. Which artefact do you love the most from Vindolanda?
5. Which aspect of the site would you like to learn more about?

This is your chance to share your favourite gallery or museum experiences.

Andy

Whither the Vindolanda Tablets?
Great post guys,

It is very hard to reply to such a post without being open to being liable for comments on such a delicate issue, so with great care, and naming few names or institutions (apart fromthe good old BM), read the following and get a flavour of the problem from a Vindolanda perspective.

Duncan has a point that is a good one and goes well beyond the tablets. A lot of artefacts from the forts at Carvoran and Vindolanda adorn museum displays up and down the land. Most is not on display, some arrived at various collections through either dubious or confused means. This creates problems, namely for museums that hold material and have no record of ownership of that material, or ownership that could be challenged in a court of law. This is not a modern issue, rather it is a throwback from an earlier time when museum records were not what we might want them to be today. Leaving such a mess creates the circumstances where some might find it easier to ignore the issue for another day than have to confront it.

The case for the fort at Carvoran is worse still, with altar stones and inscriptions scattered around the country in places that range form a Cambridge college to museums and private collections. However, as most of these items were legitimately purchased from the landowners at the time, the Carrick family at Carvoran, they legally belong to the institutions who now own them.

What makes the Vindolanda collection so special, is that when you go there, everything you see comes from Vindolanda.

I agree with Harry that the tablets at the BM give them a higher profile (millions of people pass through the door every year). However, what the BM does not do as well as it might, in my personal opinion, is give Vindolanda itself much of a profile. Thus, they show some finds out of the context in which they were found, (a cardinal sin to an archaeologist).


Andy

Dig photo's from 2006
August 13th to the 17th excavation team.

Bob stealing the show with that hat as usual. Mind you, you don't want to get close enough to smell it!

Andy

Dig photo's from 2006
June 4th to the 8th excavation team



The team
And Neither Alex or I get the sort of crowd that Beth gets. No justice!

The team
I don't get as big a crowd as Alex

The team
Goef,

The man in charge of making the Roman Walls safe for the public once we have uncoverd them.

The team
Alex,

Chatting to the crowd. At Vindolanda we do twice daily talks for our visitors during the summer months. As an excavator you will be asked plenty of questions abou the site and Roman Britain, and by the end of your time with us we like to hope that you leave with more confidence and are able answer some of those questions.

The team
Robin Birley

The team
Beth, Justin, Andy, Alex

Dig photo's from 2006
Photo courtesy of Beth,

The June 11th - 15th excavation team photo.

The team
This is for those of you who have yet to meet us all.

Included are Justin Blake, Alex Meyer, Beth Green, Robin Birley (chairman of the research committee) and myself.

When you join us at Vindolanda next year one of the folowing characters will be looking after you.


Andy

Tablets, tablets everywhere
Hi Duncan,

I hear you.

There is a pressure movement growing in the North to get the tablets back. What is important is that they don't just come back to the north, but they come back to Vindolanda, where they belong, but there is always hope. What we must do this year, is find some more.....


Andy

Tablets, tablets everywhere
Ah the tablets,

Well, we don't keep them at Vindolanda as we (the Vindolanda Trust) struck a deal with the BM back in the early 1970's, and to not put too fine a point on it, although the deal was a lousy one in modern terms, it meant that the Vindolanda Trust could survive and more tablets could be found and the whole of the scholraly community of Roman Britain would benefit from their discovery. As such the BM now owns the tablets.

However, that's not to say that one day we might not get some of them back, nor to say that the ones that we will be finding this year will go to the BM immediately. The problem remains for a small underfunded museum and research establishment on how we can afford to keep them. They need a lot of TLC. The cases that store up to 250 tablets in the BM cost c 300.000 each, and there are over 1500 tablets. Also there is the whole security issue, just how much is the earliest surviving hand writen letter from Britain worth? The answer is that it is priceless. It has alway been the worst part of the job, to see the tablets leave, and the staff at Vindolanda feel that they get precious little respect or credit from the wider archaeological community for thier efforts in finding and preserving these documents. At the BM there is little faded photo of the site, and it is an out of date photo at that. So for Vindolanda to present the BM the tablets is a difficult but important duty. Perhaps some day we will be in the position to do something about it, alas that day is not today.


Andy

The 2007 excavations season
Attached PDF file is the report from the Hedley building excavation on the proposed site for the Vindolanda study cetre.

New arrivals
Hi Duncan,

Noo, just a Newcastle United romper suit, of course, we have the Boston Reds socks as well in reserve if things at Newcastle get any more embarrassing. I am hoping that the Toon get relegated so that I can afford to take my family to the odd game........
:D

Post-Roman Christianity at Vindolanda
Post Roman community at Vindolanda probably a mixture of the descendants of the last garrison and the bunch that followed Brigomaglos to Vindolanda in the 5th century. Church probably Arian in faith, it points the wrong way, but they did not seem to mind. Arianism is something of a national faith for many of the Germanic peoples who inhabited the late Roman Empire, and as we have Frisian ware form Vindolanda and Housesteads, it is likely that these are our bods as well. Other than that we do have a portable Christian Alter, a cross on a wall stone from this year, and all manner of other small objects that suggest quite an active Christian warrior war-band at Vindolanda in the 5th century. Who put them at Vindolanda and what for? That is another question entirely

Andy

P.S. Dr Neil Christie is working on a New Religion in late Roman Britain book, so watch this space.

Geophizzzz
Hi Matt, Harry,

We have done Magnetometer surveys in the field to the north of the site, across the Stanegate road, which has show that the settlement in the 3rd/4th century does cross the road to the north. There are signs of possible mausoleums beside the road, and lots of pits. The field was drained in the 1830's and this work was paused when Roman boots and shoes were recovered from a depth of 5 feet. It is unlikely that the geophysical survey caught any of the buildings/landscape associated with such deep layers so the field remains somewhat of a mystery. The Vindolanda Trust purchased the land based on the Hedley description of the remains more than the geophis, although this has been useful. I remain deeply concerned at the way in which geophysics is being used in the UK as a be all and end all tool for scheduling and other such activities, and to be honest, here my sympathy is firmly with the farmers. Until you actually go in to the field and test the results to work out what they really do mean, it remains somewhat a shot in the dark as to how to intemperate features. Farmers always feel they get the rough end of the stick in such circumstances, and sadly, in most cases they do.

Bearing this in mind, we would like to run some test trenches through this field during the next major phase of the excavations (although we will not be running a major excavation in this area until we know what we are dealing with). I personally want to find the Ancient line of the Stanegate road, and get its true course planned in (basic stuff really, but we need to do this in the future). We will be working on planning the next phase this summer, but are looking at a session of work that would stretch from 2008 to 2013, so it takes a great deal of planning and pen pushing. Two major areas have been considered by the Vindolanda research committee, one a quadrant of the fort, the second, a large extramural area (the bit outside the walls). A formal announcement will follow on the decision they make about the future direction of research at Vindolanda. Any work that is undertaken will of course be subject to being able to obtain an SMC, scheduled monument consent, to do the work.

Otherwise, Justin has done some surveys at the western end of the site with the guys from Piddington Roman Villa using a magnetometer. The results arent great to be honest. The ground conditions at Vindolanda sometimes make things a little tricky. No work like this has been done inside the fort, not worth it. We have stone buildings, stone roads and stone floors filled with rubble, so you wont get any results worth speaking of.

Hope this is helpful,

Best,

Andy

The 2007 excavations season
Hi Guys,

There are still plenty of places available for those who wish to join us in April next year. Some are put off by the prospect of snow, gale force winds, driving rain or sleet, and the need to wear a woolly hat, others are not.......Here is a list of the brave, the sturdy and the resolute, people who are excavating in April.

Dilys
Jim
Susan
Joanna
David
Roger
Tasos
Jane
Sue (2nd Sue)
2 Leicester students
Sally
Paul
Joanna
Susan
Albert
Annie
Jane
Chris
Sandy
Bridget
Margaret
Fiona

If you are up to the challenge of Northumberland in April, come and join us.

The Vindolanda April excavation team needs YOU!



Andy

New arrivals
Hey folks,

For all of you excavators who know me, and who want a picture of the latest edition to the Birley family, one will hopefully be posted here after the birth so long as everything goes well. Details will follow after the 9th of December (due date).

We don't know the sex of the baby so....you could start a betting pool :-) (so long as you cut me in Harry)


all the best,


Andy

  • Pages:
  • 1