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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!

DealsFor.me - The best sales, coupons, and discounts for you
Tim - I think you're on Central Time, if so you are off by an hour. Clocks go back an hour in the UK tonight, so they'll be on GMT on Tuesday, when noon is 8am Eastern, 7 Central. Wouldn't want to have your wife get up for 6 and find she could have had an extra hour in bed. Could find yourself booked on a dig in Siberia instead... :$

Tim - I got an email confirmation from Vindolanda Trust (info@vindolandatrust.com) immediately. Possibly you have a spam filter that grabbed it? If you saw the confirmation screen I'm betting you are OK. Might be worth a phone call to the Trust to make sure? Or possibly our insiders on the forum can check...

2011 excavation report...
Unless I missed it, there's no link or mention anywhere on WeDig of the 2011 annual excavation report being up on the vindolanda.com website. You can read it by clicking the link below. I would have posted this in the "News, Media, Links" section but it appears that only a select few can start new threads there...

2011 End of Season Excavation Update

I finally tried to become a member of the Trust today and have run into a problem. I have filled out all the sections completely, but I'm seeing the error message below. Any suggestions/ideas for what's happening?

EDIT - I managed to figure it out. The "BillingState" variable appears to be looking for the two-letter state code. At least for me, changing my address from "Massachusetts" to "MA" was enough for the payment to be accepted...

Glad I found this out today and not on Tuesday. :)

Just a quick update to say its now working, including not only Mongolia, but Malta, Mali and the Maldives...!!

Will now go and become a Friend and gird my loins typing fingers for the Nov 1 @ noon battle.

Vindolanda on TV
Dang it, missed your post and therefore the program. Doesn't seem to be a repeat scheduled judging by the online listings, unless you know different Andy?


Managed to find a repeat via my DVR's search function: Thursday Oct 27th, 4pm Eastern.

Anaerobic ditches found on Antonine Wall fort
Its cheap, I've done these kinds of amplifications myself. Materials for a lab that normally does this kind of stuff would easily be less than 10 pounds/dollars per reaction. If there was serious interest in doing this, it would probably be easy to persuade someone who already does archaeological DNA recovery to have a go for virtually nothing. Someone like Erika Hagelberg (pioneered extraction & typing of DNA from bones) probably wouldn't take much persuasion to give it a try. Money wouldn't be the problem, survival of enough DNA to work with would be.

If you're after mtDNA there are thousands of (usually identical) copies per cell, so if you lose a few more on recovery you still have a worthwhile sample. Avoiding contamination with the person recovering would certainly be an issue, but as long as you get a sample from that person as well it shouldn't be hard to figure out whether you've got some Roman era DNA in there.

I don't know what would be the best method of processing a sandal for DNA would be (clearly it would have to be done before the leather treatment started), but it might be as simple as doing an immediate scraping from the leather surface and putting the swab/scraper into an alcohol container for later amplification. The sandal could then go through the normal leather preservation protocol.

Anaerobic ditches found on Antonine Wall fort
I did a quick search within PubMed and found a paper in 2004 describing DNA profiles recovered from the inside of (modern) shoes. Not surprising at all, given the amount of skin we shed every day. If a sandal was discarded and buried relatively quickly I think its definitely possible some skin cells might survive in anaerobic conditions. Seems like it would definitely be worth a shot the next time someone starts pulling sandals out of an anaerobic layer. Would probably require rapid treatment once the sandal is exposed to air to prevent any remaining DNA being degraded completely.

Bright & Petricevic, Forensic Science Intl. vol 7, p145, 2004:
(abstract only, haven't read the full article)
"In recent years, the analysis of trace amounts of DNA has become a necessary and useful forensic tool. DNA profiles can be obtained from items that have been worn or handled, due to the presence of transferred DNA derived from skin cells. Shoeprints collected from crime scenes that match a suspects shoe can link a shoe to the crime scene. A DNA profile from inside the shoe can link a wearer to a shoe thus increasing the evidential value of the forensic evidence. In this work, variation in the amount of DNA recovered from hands and feet of different individuals is investigated. Sites for sampling DNA from shoe insoles are compared and a protocol for the subsequent sampling and extraction is developed. Finally, a case study is described where DNA analysis of shoe insoles has provided forensic evidence."

Excellent, thanks Andy.

Thanks, Scott & Mary, I'm not sure if both of you are also using Macs, meaning this is a Mac-specific browser incompatibility, or if the Country pop-up menu is just completely broken. Either way, it would be great if it were fixed before the November 1st application storm. They may be losing orders because people from overseas think they can't buy anything.

Thanks Andy, it will be a nerve-wracking wait to find out if I've made it. Will be trying for July this time, so I'm sure that will be a hot ticket, as they say over here.

In preparation for the big day I just tried to become a friend, and it appears there's a problem with the checkout page, I can't select any country other than the UK. I'm on a Mac and tried Safari, Chrome and Firefox, all with the same result. This may not be the best place to report this kind of issue, but are any other non-UK we-diggers having the same problem??

Anaerobic ditches found on Antonine Wall fort
This is a long shot, but has anybody tried to analyse the surface of recovered sandals for human DNA? They were surely loaded with skin cells when they were discarded, and even if you could only recover fragments of mitochondrial DNA it might be possible to determine the owner's regional origin...