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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!

Can it be??
Just talking on the phone to family in Leeds, sounds like its barely above freezing, with still snow left from last week in shaded spots. Makes me wonder if the ground in the fort will be frozen on the first morning tomorrow! Can any locals give us an update?

A regular view
If I have my orientation correct, the SE quadrant is within the red-marked area on Pete's image. Can I make a suggestion to ask people to zoom in a little so their photo covers the dashed area? It will mean we have more chance of picking out details. I fear that otherwise we will need to be posting multi-megabyte photos and zooming in ourselves, or we won't be able to see anything from that distance - notice the size of people walking around to see how small things will be if we don't zoom in (or crop later, but this may exceed the pixel density of some people's cameras).

I've done a similar "time-lapse" project myself (construction of a building) and I found it helped tremendously to have specific landmarks to mark the sides of the view, so the images over time cover the same area. We could do it here using the two trees as the left edge and the wall that runs through the field on Barcombe Hill on the right, putting the SE quadrant in the middle of shot.

Posted Image

I'm also wondering if there's going to be any digging in the vicus this year (?), that the same vantage point could be used to take similar progress photos of there too.

A regular view
Great idea! The height means the pictures should reveal at least some of the main features as they appear.

Trowel Recommendations....
The website katesf mentioned above will get you the trowel, but if you really want to get it from Amazon, you can

Elsewhere in the Empire....
I was just trying to find Fiona some PC-specific help, and knew that Harry had written something up somewhere. Didn't want to reinvent the wheel...

I found what I was looking for: Harry's excellent guide to cropping & resizing image files on a PC. I thought I had posted how to do this with the built in image editor app on a Mac ("Preview"), but it must have been on a different forum. Maybe I should write one up and it could be stored with the PC version.

However, if anyone is really interested in working with their image files I recommend learning something a bit stronger than Paint though. First of all, shoot your images in RAW, then you can fix exposure problems much more effectively (files are bigger, but memory cards are dirt cheap now). Then use something like Photoshop (even the Elements version is enough, there are Mac & PC versions) and you can bring out shadow detail, darken and "moodify" overexposed clouds etc. Photoshop also has a superb function called "Save for Web", which allows you to reduce the dimensions of the image as well as the colour-set. The file size reductions can be extraordinary, and you get to preview the effects before you save.

Elsewhere in the Empire....
Fiona - nice picture! However, photos are almost always going to look better if saved as a jpeg and not a gif, does Paint have that option? I use a Photoshop on a Mac, so I've no idea what Paint on a PC will do... B)

If you can save it as a jpeg I think you'd find the "pointillist" look will disappear and a nice smooth appearance would return, with a file size about the same as this one.

Elsewhere in the Empire....
I seem to recall some discussion on WeDig about how to crop/resize images, with instructions for those using either a Mac or a PC, but can't seem to find it. Might be useful to put a link to that here if anyone knows where that is?

Trowel Recommendations....
Each to his own, but I think its worth paying the extra three quid for the soft-handled WHS. More comfortable on the wrist after a long day in the trench.

Advice for getting from Newcastle to the site?
The chip&PIN thing can be annoying, but I've found on several recent trips to the UK that even without one you can still use it everywhere, but you may need to help/remind the person in the shop that they will need to swipe the card.

And, I want to underline Badger's comment about phoning your credit card company before you leave (number on back of your card) and telling them when you'll be in the UK, otherwise it will probably be rejected. No fun when that happens...!

Advice for getting from Newcastle to the site?
Meghan, not much to add to Badger's post.

One potential issue is using a credit card in the ticket machine itself. In the UK (and most of Europe I believe) they have a chip in them matched to a PIN number. US (and therefore, possibly Canadian) cards don't have one. To pick up your tickets that you've bought beforehand online you have to put the same card into the machine, but if it doesn't have a chip it will reject it. Never fear though, you just go to a ticket window and the human being there will be able to swipe your card and hand you the tickets.

As far as getting change, I'm sure the driver will have some, but won't be pleased if you present them a large denomination bill - so I'd say a 20 pound note might be OK, but a 50 or 100 might be declined...!

The bus stop at Hexham station I've used a couple of times without problem, just make sure you are standing at the right stop. If you're worried about that part we can mark up a satellite image with big red crosses for the stop at the station and Visitor Centre...

The Newcastle-Vindolanda trip is beautiful, and will be a nice introduction to Britain, hopefully you won't be feeling so jet-lagged you can actually enjoy the view!

Now there's something you don't see every day....
That dig looks pretty interesting Sue, it would be great if you could give us a report afterwards of how it went.

Here's the BEVARS website, where I found info on the dig. (very inventive name by the way! :D )

A New Digger's Guide post!

Nice addition Harry, hard to believe its still so well preserved. Is someone maintaining the stonework?

(Also, nice shot Pete.)

WiFi on site
Hi Andy,

Not sure if you saw this thread from last autumn. It was just before applications went live, so it wouldn't be surprising if you missed it. :P

Are diggers OK to use the existing wi-fi at the Hedley? If not, what do you think about charging a fee for access?

Advice for getting from Newcastle to the site?
Tim - The 75 quid may not be right, it was from one online source i found by a quick google.

Meghan - if you are seriously considering the cab option, I would call a taxi company based in Newcastle and ask them for a quote. You could even take the easy/expensive route on arrival, then the adventurous/cheap route on the return...

Advice for getting from Newcastle to the site?
I was curious to know the rate for a taxi, because I'll be making the same journey at the end of June. There are online estimators, and it looks like the taxi rates are capped, so they should be reasonably accurate. I picked yourtaximeter.com and put in the postcodes for Newcastle airport and the Hedley, it came up with a fare of 60 quid (I guessed an arrival date and travel of Sat Mar 30th in the morning), plus 20p per 40 seconds. The travel time is supposed to be 45-50 mins according to Google maps distance calculator, so that would be an extra 15 quid (there are also "soiling fees" mentioned as possible extras, but you will be nice and clean on arrival :D ). Grand total of 75 GBP.

I've also done the rail/AD122 route and its truly not very hard. I just ran some dates through nationalrail.co.uk and you can get an Anytime Day Single (ie: not for a specific train on that day, so no worries if the flight is delayed a bit) from the Airport to Hexham (no changes of train needed) for 6 quid, 12 quid round-trip (called a "Return" ticket in the UK). The AD122 bus was about 5 or 6 pounds when I took it from Vindolanda back to Hexham last summer, will probably be about the same, maybe a pound more this year. Grand total of about 12-13 GBP.

So, quite a significant difference in cost. Also, I'm not sure what train & bus service is like in Canada, but people in Europe are much more used to using public transport to get around, and you'll find this bus is very clean, driven by friendly drivers and the trains are pretty good too and on time. I agree with Badger that the cab is less adventurous, but its really not that adventurous to do this specific train/bus combination. It would of course take longer to do the train/bus option (I'd guestimate 3 or 4 hours compared to 1hr via cab? That train runs every 30 mins or so, AD122 bus leaves Hexham every 60-90 mins), but you'll save a bundle and get some good cultural exposure at the same time. B)

Advice for getting from Newcastle to the site?
And all the roads are circular! Terry, that's the same suggestion I had in my first post. :D

Advice for getting from Newcastle to the site?
It's clear from this thread that "omnes viae Vindolandam ducunt"!

Advice for getting from Newcastle to the site?
Hi Meghan, congrats on your first visit. I've dug at Vindolanda before using public transport to get there, and its not too hard.

I think your best bet is train from Newcastle (I think there's a train from the airport to the station in Newcastle, if not, get a cab) to Hexham, then catch the excellent AD122 bus from Hexham to the site. The bus stop is right outside the station, 50 meters from the platform. The bus will drop you in the main visitors car park, leaving you a shortish walk (5 mins?) around (or through) the site to the Hedley.

Check bus times leaving Hexham (google "ad122 bus schedule", but it looks like the 2013 one isnt out yet?) and buy an appropriately timed train ticket online in advance, will be much cheaper than getting it on the day. For the bus you just pay the driver on entry.

You'll have a great time!

If you need more details, just ask.