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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!

New link to some 300 more Vindolanda tablet texts
It appears to only work with Firefox.

Tim Wolter

Human remains?
In general I don't doubt this is true. But the vicus graves had no bones to be found, and the skull I mentioned looked pretty "preserved" Not sure what kind of stuff they dip it in. And with the Neaderthal DNA a big issue was contamination from the hands of conservators. I'm guessin' a few paws have been on the skull here.
But you may know best, I work with people who are alive and meant to stay that way!
Tim Wolter

Human remains?
Andrew and Justin (the other one) seem a bit busy these days, so lesser wits must contribute....

Obviously A and J "know where the bodies are buried". The fields to the west of the vicus are known to contain many, many burials. They are generally to be avoided at all costs, because finding a grave requires a halt in the work, and special permits, legal work etc. I guess the coroner needs to rule that the human remains found in the same strata as 3rd century pottery is not in fact the body of the Missing Vicar from Doomsworth Abbey.

On the western edge of the 2008/9 vicus excavation there were a number of cyst graves, about a dozen as I recall my conversation with Justin. I have a pretty good pic of one if anyone is interested. Once the special paperwork for excavation was obtained I know at least one was explored, but no remains, er, remained. That darned later plowing. These were felt to be late, late burials, 4th century?

And of course there was that skull found in a fort ditch. Speculation was that it was a tribesman, killed and beheaded on a punitive expedition, his noggin then being put on a pike as a warning. (btw I have tried this in my garden with a cardboard cut out of a dead rabbit, and it seems to help a little).

You might get sufficient DNA (or better yet mitochondrial RNA) to compare to local samples, but there are a couple of problems.

Time and the chemical processes needed for conservation likely make this no longer possible.

If history can be believed, which it can't be usually, most of the local population left in the post roman era, so the odds of finding a notable degree of genetic similarity would seem low. The Cheshire Man of a few years ago was a good example of a case where the genetic continuity was noteworthy.

Sorry if I have made a hash of the facts in an archeo sense, but at least with the medical side of things I feel a degree of confidence.

Tim Wolter (MD)

Jupiter Dolichenus
Chesters, Greatchesters, Chesterholm....

a degree of confusions sometimes slips in.

I shall await the wisdom of the dons.


Jupiter Dolichenus
Although the Chesters Dolichenus altar is currently free standing, I found a source that says it was incorporated into a wall when it was first discovered in the 1890s.
Tim Wolter