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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!

The Severan period
My thought is that the Antonine fort was in a state of ruin that would have taken too much in resources to repair to a defesible level. The annex just outside the west gate would have been mostly, if not all, timber structures which would be easier to level and build on. The defensive ditch and rampart is marking out an area that is thus useable and may need only a recutting of the ditch and replacement of the palisade. Or the garrison that moved to Vindolanda for a few years may have been more like a numeri group that kept its own structure which put the hierarchy in the small defended area and the basic troops out on the level platform that could hold them. As more work is done at the north end of the Antonine fort new ideas may emerge as to how the fort platform's defenses were laid out (if there were any). The defensive style may give a clue as to what type of force was in residence for those few years.
Matt

The Severan period
Harry-
After spending a few weeks digging to the Severan layers I think that the small garrison may have used the annex area of the earlier fort as its defended position while something else was going on up on the fort platform of the stone Antonine fort. Cutting a ditch into the north west wall of the earlier stone fort seems strange unless the walls were in such a state that it was easier to refurbish the defences of an annex than build stone walls for a fort that would be too large for the garrison stationed at Vindolanda. It makes me think that the garrison at Vindolanda knew they would not be there for long term so didn't need a "proper" stone fort. The platform of the old fort seems to have worked fine though for stone foundation roundhouses, though. And who knows what those were for, I certainly don't!
Matt

Excavations
The week of June 12-16 for Area B was a quagmire to be polite! Just two days of digging was had and one of those was topsoil removal. Plenty of backlogged pottery was washed and marked for deposit at the lab. The rain never really seem to let up from Wednesday through the weekend. Katie and I left on Sunday the 17th for Holy Island and the coast had good weather with a bit of sun peeking through. I know this past week Area A was able to dig most everyday. Anyone continuing to excavate the Antonine era stone fort 1 wall please post updates on your finds and pics as to what the archaeology looks like. Now that I am home I am already wanting to get back and dig some more! Being a human JCB is good for the weight loss!!

The one good day of digging on my last week did turn up a great find. Katie and I foound the lower half of a seated statuette commonly called a Dea Nutrix. The goddess is seated on a wicker chair commonly holding a baby or a cornucopia. Hopefully the upper part will be found in the ditch we were just getting into before the heavens released the flood. The detail of the gown is very sharp and shows little signs of wear.

Andy's area had a rather odd find of some gaffito on stone that looked like an alien. I will try to get a picture up as soon as I can. The grafitto was found this past week which ended for his team Thursday the 21st.

Matt

"AAAA Team" alias "Human JCBs"
Thanks Brian. Those are great pictures! I guess the Trust knows what team to call when they need age-old archaeology questions answered at Vindolanda: the "AAAA" Team! Human JCBs to the rescue!!
Matt

Northumberland weather
Katie and I finished our week today with Justin in Area B. We had a total of two days digging over the five days. The first day, Tuesday, was the best day. We found a ceramic gaming counter, some pottery, and the lower section of a Dea Nutrix statuette. We didn't find any other parts so the next group able to dig in the ditch we were just on the top of will hopefully find the rest of the statuette. Today and an hour yesterday is all the time we were able to dig and that was topsoil removal. The next group or two into Area B will have it easy. Right down on archaeology in no time! We spent the days not digging washing pottery and marking the lot that was dry from a previous washing. The weather doesn't look great for next week. Andy's area is underwater and will take at least a day of pumping to get dry, I think. Last week his crew found the northwest turn to the stone fort one wall which is exciting. Now measurements can be made and an idea of the size of the fort in the late Antonine era since the west and south wall limits are now known. To all of you digging the rest of the season: Post what you are doing!!!! Pictures would be great but at the least do a short write up as to how your time went. If no one writes then this will become a very dull site. So WRITE!!
Matt

Turf rampart just outside NW corner of S.F. II
I ended last week cleaning up Stone Fort 1's north western wall since there was to be no digging this week due to Andy's vacation. I can say that we now have twenty feet of wall showing. The wall is made of sandstone blocks. The foundation of the wall is two courses high and is cut of the largest sandstone blocks. These are around 10 inches long and 6-7 inches in height. The wall is then stepped back and the smaller cut sandstone blocks make up the wall proper. The best surviving section thus far is nearest the later stone fort 2's corner turn. Stone Fort 1's wall stands a total of 7 courses high and is very well bonded closest to the later stone fort. The turf rampart on the east side of the wall shows well in the profile of the trench. What we found in the last couple of days of digging was the rampart profile beginning to dip down which may mean we had gotten close to the turn in stone fort 1's wall. The other surprise was the cut of a major ditch in the profile of the west wall of the trench near the furthest north of the excavation. A large ditch seems to have damage part of stone fort 1's wall. This ditch may be a part of the defenses cut by the Severan garrison of 208-213 AD. Next week, when work resumes, the full profile of the ditch should show and explain itself (fingers crossed). The next crew to dig the wall will also be working a new section of trench hoping to confirm the turn of the wall or its continuation. Hopefully it will turn before the modern boundary fence that runs along the Stanegate road or there will be many more questions asked of Stone Fort 1's layout! I will be taking pictures and checking in on the crew working the wall next week since I am now with Justin's crew for my last couple of weeks. Stay tuned.
Matt

Excavations
This week only Area B is working as Andy is vacationing with his family. Since starting on Tuesday some gaming counters and two leather shoe soles have been the finds to talk about. One of the soles was found right on cue during one of Justin's "talks" when he was describing the leather and shoe finds from the site over the years. Uncanny, that. The gaming counters are glass and shale and we have dubbed that section of trench "the Las Vegas of Vindolanda". A few other counters were found last week and included at least one made of pottery.
The two shoe soles were found within the same patch of trench and one had a few hobnails still attached. That is the first time I have seen that.

The big news for Area B, though, is the topsoil has been removed for the rest of the excavation area compliments of a mechanical digger. It was a wonderful site to see as I know how difficult it is to get through the turf and topsoil to get to the good archaeology below. All of the rest of you volunteers coming to dig in Area B just won't know how lucky you are!
Matt