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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!

2012?
As for continuing to offer opportunities to take part in surveying etc, certainly, I intend to continue this - however, it will be offered on an opt-in basis. If there are enough people who want to try something in a particular week then I will provide the training for those who wish it.

Of course, I would suggest that everyone who comes on to the excavation takes part in these things, even if they have done them before. It is good to keep the skills fresh or hone those skills and to get a better understanding of t,he wider processed involved.

best,

Andy

2012?
Beth's students are not part of the 650. They are counted separately as are Leicester and Newcastle Students who formally book in through affiliated programmes with those Universities. so the real total is closer to 700 than 650. 650 is the number for the volunteer programme

:-)

2012?
Hi Folks,

Excellent and vibrant discussion thread as usual- well done all at wedig. Lot's of issues here, too many to deal with in one reply. But I thought you might like some stats and a reply to various questions as food for thought from my own perspective as the Director of excavations at the site. I have no doubt that the issues below will continue to be a focus of debate for a while regardless of my comments.

1. The excavations this year have more places than ever before available 650, last year it was around 550. We are more likely to offer fewer in the future than this coming year than more in coming years with the current levels of staffing and facilities.

Of course these could be increased, but we are talking about hundreds of thousands of pounds here to add to the infrastructure which would be needed to support such a rise, not thousands of pounds. Because, if we do expand to take more volunteers, we will do it properly and not in an unsustainable way. There are things to consider such as planning permissions, building regulations, National parks Authorities, planers, SMC's the list goes on and on. As for the website application process....... for certain....the present shop based system is not perfect - no, but it is a quick and mostly efficient method and more to the point - the Vindolanda Trust can afford to support it in a sustainable way. it also has to be international. I know that 12noon GMT does not work for everyone, but at least it is universally inconvenient! Whether it is 2am in Asia or you are in a meeting at lunch. It is a pain if you are not computer literate and there were problems with some peoples cards. I can only apologize for that.

We don't have thousands of pounds to throw at this website, yet it has to be professionally done, with a proper contract with a web provider, security, tech support and everything else. It is most certainly not perfect, it is a tough brief, and will be improved. That I can promise, we will always seek to make it better.

2. The majority of those who booked in this year are veterans. Something like 65%. This good and bad of course. Good, because we love to welcome you all back (those that can get in) bad, because the veterans take the majority of places and leave less for new people to get involved. Also worth noting that it is mainly the veterans who flood the system on the 1st :-) more than any other group. So when I get the call from a 16 year old in tears and desperate to get involved on 2pm on the 1st of November and I have to say sorry to them because someone who has been for 5 years has taken a place that they may have had I do so kindly and don't fuss about it. However, because of this I am perhaps less sympathetic than I may otherwise be to vets complaining about not getting in every year... It is and should be an open system, with all of the good and bad that goes with it.

I would not for instance- advocate banning those who have been more than twice before, or limit the weeks of veterans to a single week if they have already had the experience. I notice that those particular suggestion have yet to be made on the discussion. :-)

Veteran excavators, indeed friends if you will permit me to call you thus, are a boon to the excavations and we welcome them as we warmly welcome everyone who takes part. Of course, new excavators are equally easy to manage, support and they also have the same level of enthusiasm. So let me put that one to rest, I do not make the distinction between old and new in that way. Experience is good, but so sometimes is a lack of it, more important is talent and potential.

However, as a result of the above i must confess that I do often think some of the emotive and strong language used in the debate can be little..unbecoming/bitter and lacks perspective beyond personal grief. We should all reflect upon the fact that the Vindolanda Trust does not want Vindolanda excavations to become an exclusive, members only, club. It is not what we are about, not one little bit. Looking at the stats I may be forced to consider exactly the opposite to the discussion threads thus far, some form of quota not for vets but for new excavators so that it does not become a closed shop. I don't want to...but...there you go.

4. To be clear on the matter - the number of people who come for more than 2 weeks is less than 20. At any time - as Director of Excavations I can take the responsibility to promote a volunteer to a supervisory role, and thus, enable them to do more than the normal alloted time. These people do not take up a single space for a volunteer, they are added in as extras. This is something that an individual has to earn, not by simply being a good excavator, but by showing me that they are able to support others in their work and have a good or excellent grasp of the task in hand. So, sometimes you may see people in lots of group photo's, like Kate S. That is because Kate was given extra responsibilities above and beyond volunteering. Indeed, Beth, Alex and Kevin all started out as volunteers and have benefited from it in various ways. They get that chance because they have earned it, so it is no good counting faces and moaning about it. If you have a problem - email me. Of course I would prefer if you didn't! :-)

5. I have seen plenty of discussion with suggestions for limiting weeks to 2-4 etc, or having more of a lottery, opening up other areas to excavate, back office etc (not practical or affordable I am sorry to say, you would need a very big amount of cash-expansion to the infrastructure of the lab, facilities and staffing...et al). So this is not the obvious answer from my perspective (although I can perfectly see why it is attractive). We do have a core limited team of people who support the museum staff in their work - they are Trojans. They have to go through a lot of induction and training and there are limited places, normally no more than 4. Those who work in these areas are selected for the job, there is no application process. If you seek such opportunities then I would suggest looking at your local museum, field centre. As a local you are far better placed to make the sort of commitment which would support this work and get the best out of it for both parties.

6. I would like to address the issue of those who want more courses etc whilst on this theme. I understand this completely, indeed, last year we had people doing a lot more than before. I am personally very keen on offering more, and I promise that I will work hard to provide some really good professional courses, mostly off season and using the study centre. These may consist of things like a weeks residential surveying course where you could pick up a professional qualification at the end. If you are truly interested in advancing in a professional way then these may be an option for you.

As for the excavation itself - It was an interesting thing for us to do last year (offering courses), for two reasons. A-so we could see if we could do it with the present staffing - we could do some like the surveying) and B- to see through the season what people wanted. The results were revealing, mainly because the veterans were the folks who most resented being taken off the excavation to do the courses such as surveying and some of those, who shall remain nameless, actually were the most vocal in pre-season asking for the courses. A sobering and eyeopening result for Justin and myself.

7. My final point really is that if you feel that we are not offering enough, or don't fit your bill, then by all means lets continue this debate. But you must also consider expand you horizons and joining other excavations as an option as well. Get some perspective by working on other sites which have different models. Vindolanda is not perfect, it is I think very good (if you will permit me to say so), but you may always find some outfit/excavation somewhere else that fits what you personally require more. As students we were taught to gain as much and as varied experiences as possible. We are not going anywhere, there are over a 100 years of excavation on the site remaining, if you need to go off to scratch that itch, you will always be welcomed back - as before.

my very best,

Andy



2012?
most Hedley places are now full.

Andy

2012?
Buy your friends membership when your previous year has almost expired. So if you still have a couple of months left on your current membership wait until it is close to running out before replacing it. Otherwise you will get a reminder from the friends secretary :-)

2012?
Hi All,

We have had a few cancellations and those places will go live on the website at 12noon today (hopefully). If you have been unlucky please sign up for the cancellations newsletter on the www.vindolanda.com website, this will give you up to date info as we can get it out. Throughout the year there are a few cancellations for a wide variety of reasons and these go back into the pot and people will be informed through the newsletter.

Hope that this is helpful :-)



Andy

2012?
If anyone is still having problems please give Vindolanda a call on 01434344277

We have had a few people with the odd issue and we are trying to clear those up as they go :-)

It has been another insanely busy year with a lot of the places gone already. There is not a great deal I can do about this aspect.

I can only apologise if couples have not managed to both get in at once. We will re-fund any of those cancellations and get the places back into the system over the next 24 hours.

best,

Andy

2012?
we are on live now - good luck all.

Andy