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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!

Finds of the Day
Cheers Sue,

The whole package at Vindolanda will improve next year, museums, site, accommodation and thanks to the study centre for the first time we have a chance of offering a lot of variety to the program which we have not be able to do until now.

I am seriously considering offering a more structured package for next years excavations for those that want such a thing. What I may do is offer extra things for people to opt in for when they book if they want them, such as survey etc. This will allow people to make those choices for themselves. The end of the week talk will change for sure :-) as we will all have been in the same area all week, I will explore your suggestion to see how we could do something to spice it up a little, good suggestion.

Just a point for all veterans, I will flag up the changes to the system next year in the welcome to the excavations letter, it will be a must to check this out in light of all of the developments which will have taken place. (timetable, where to park, when to come in, where to meet etc).

Great to hear about your course and I very much hope you have an enormous amount of fun doing it.

all the very best,

Andy

Finds of the Day
A good discussion thread. It actually raises a lot of issues which I think have been boiling for a while, so forgive the rambling response.

Some points from the Trust side on this particular issue........ first :-).

Generally we always want everyone to share in the excitement of discovery, and I sincerely hope that this is normally the case with a major find (altar for instance). With a Roman nail however.................No, I don't buy it.

Always it is the balance between conservation/discovery and of course infrastructure/time/cost etc.

What I am saying is that I agree with this in principle (interesting find of the day, although it is not a contest and all finds have their equal measure) but it is important to remember what constitutes and important discovery is completely subjective, and the final say stays with the Director/site archaeologist on duty. Often a mundane artefact recovered from an interesting context is far more informative and important to the understanding of the occupation of the site. It is not about bling.

Also to consider is the fact that we have a limited tea break, which of course isn't the end of the day...... we could do something at the end of the day......but then people have the bus to catch, children to rescue from childcare....etc, lift to the Youth Hostel etc etc :-). Life does exist outside the trenches for staff, over a 6 month season :-)

Bag it before it is photographed? yes, yes we do that. Infuriating isn't it? Why? often because we don't want it photographed. Often it is more important to get a artefact booked and into the system and ready for conservation than taking a photo. This applies either to the need for immediate conservation intervention or the fact that the site archaeologist has 200 finds to book and 30mins to do it in. Hard to take, but that is often the harsh reality.

Finds still need to go to the lab, so lab staff need to be kept on longer if at end of day the archaeologist takes longer to process the finds (which has to be done properly), staff would need to be paid more......

Extra things like this can happen but it all needs to be carefully thought out and resourced properly.

The next stage...

I think we are rapidly getting to a point where we have two options here, we either leave the set up as it is with minor improvements as and when we can...or we start to ramp things up such as finds handling sessions, lectures, surveying, etc and those carry an extra cost to excavators. Sadly, as we have to staff these things we can't offer it all for free. Would people be prepared to resource such measures?

Of course, we must remember that anything we do we have to do for all. While most excavators come for one or two weeks, it is a 26 week season (6 months). So sometimes minor changes can carry through with larger consequences over a longer period of time. Ultimately our philosophy thus far has been to maximise the amount of time spent in the trenches. We have avoided becoming a training excavation, we do not charge people to come on a training excavation in the sense of formal training. We can offer this, at a cost. Equipment, software, staffing, all costs money, sadly. Maybe we should do this, what does the forum want? what do the wediggers want?

At present we have a range of different expectations to manage, from first time excavator to the 150 or so veterans. I think it is mostly the veterans who want to engage more to the next level. I can completely understand this and would like to help, an open for this to happen, but we have to resource it properly. Alternatively, there are other options, fully training excavations which you can participate on at other sites........ we are at a crossroads, or rather, a great deal of the wonderful wediggers are at a crossroads in their archaeological experience. Go somewhere else to get the extra level of training.. or help to resource Vindo to offer you more. It is really up to you.

Of course next year there will be no off duty diggers.

So here is a newsflash to mull over, some tasters about next years excavations.

1. the numbers will be limited to 25 places per week in 2011, thats 650 one week spaces over 6 months, 100 more spaces than 2010.
2. There will only be one team, the Vindolanda team
3. The excavations will shift from split weeks to Monday to Friday.
4. Next years excavations will be inside the 3rd & 4th century fort.
5. There will be a really exciting package of extra things available for all excavators next year, including evening lectures and a organised social event one night per week for all excavators in the new study centre.
6. watch this space for more :-)

best,

Andy


Jupiter Dolichenus
Oh, and a last Jupiter Dolichenus thought,

The Vindolanda temple will be published in this years AA. So those who have access to it should get it before Christmas.

best,

Andy

"Area A" Team Photos 2010
The very last crew of 2010 - thank you team, to all of you for another cracking year of very hard graft in the trenches. The weather in this last week has been a real challenge, storms and heavy rain but you all kept going, superb.

best for winter 2010 and of course, remember remember the 1st of November......

"Area A" Team Photos 2010
The second to last team of 2010- the first week of September....

Jupiter Dolichenus
By the by,

That Griffin of Justin's from earlier in the season, the one discussed on the Dig For Britain TV show looks awfully like the Griffin on the helmet. Numerous people have pointed this out, not least Justin himself. Perhaps something similar was about the place at Vindo.

best,

Andy

Roman Child a Murder victim at Vindolanda
Roman, dated to the first half of the 3rd century post AD213.

Roman Child a Murder victim at Vindolanda
A grim discovery made a few weeks ago at the site has now come to the attention of the media. Also fun to see how the original press release becomes more garbled when journalists don't quite read it properly :-) and those that do!

http://www.vindolanda.com/downloads/vindolanda_skeleton_press_release.pdf

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/sep/15/roman-child-murder-vindolanda

http://www.journallive.co.uk/north-east-news/todays-news/2010/09/15/remains-of-a-child-found-at-vindolanda-roman-fort-61634-27268934/


Area A
Thanks Harry,

And yes Nick, I do very much appreciate your concern and vigilance. There are sites not so far away that are really suffering due to our 'friends' with metal detectors which is criminal.

best,

Andy