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Viewing Single Post From: Excavations of 1930
SacoHarry
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THE 1930 EXCAVATIONS.

The first season's work at Vindolanda fell into three parts: the uncovering of a number of points on the fort wall, to obtain measurements for the planning of the site; the partial excavation of the north, east, and west gateways (all of which had already been examined by Hedley), and of an area (site C) north of the east gate; and a preliminary examination of the vicus.24 As was bound to be the case in the early stages of the examination of such a site on such a scale, the work was extensive and superficial rather than intensive and exhaustive, and at no point was sufficient excavation carried out to justify a detailed report. The present report aims at presenting the main problems that have arisen in the light of the results so far obtained; for a detailed discussion of structural features or stratification it will be necessary to wait until further excavation has been carried out.

In the fort itself, site C was the first to be dealt with. The east gate that Hedley excavated was considerably farther south than its western counterpart; it seemed possible, therefore, that there might be a second east gate, farther north, and opposite that on the west, and it was hoped that the excavation of such a gateway, where there had been no previous excavation, might provide an epitome of the history of the site. In the event, no gateway was found, but certain features suggested very clearly that there had once been one there. At this point a building was found, close up to the fort wall, and constructed at a high level over the clay rampart-backing, and at least on't occupation layer; its position is reminiscent of the late apse-ended structure at MALTON. Coins and pottery give a satisfactory indication of its date :

Coins.1. A coin of Maximinus Daia wag found beneath the partition-wall between the north and south rooms of the building.
2. A coin of Constans, dateable ta 342-348, was found in the core of the east wall, 16 feet north of the partition-wall.

Pottery.1. (fig. 3, no. 3.) Rim of a Huntcliff-ware cookingpot, heavily burnt. Cf. BIRDOSWALD, no. 20.
2. (fig. 3, no. 4.) Part of a flanged-bowl, as samian form 38, heavily burnt. Cf. BIRDOSWALD, nos. 92, 93. The type occurs in the fourth period only at Birdoswald, at CRAMBECK, and at the Scarborough signal-station; it is thus particularly characteristic of the last thirty years of the fourth century.

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Figure 1
The building is thus later than 342-348, whilst the pottery from its floor shows it to have been occupied after 370; it is clearly to be attributed to the Theodosian reconstruction. Its south-east corner is formed by a large block of stone, whilst through-courses of flags occur frequently in its walls; both these features, occurring also in the Theodosian walling at Birdoswald, confirm the evidence of the coins and pottery for dating the rampart-building. Another feature, the lavish use of a distinctive light-brown mortar, is therefore dateable; this mortar was met with again in a large, rough patch in the outer face of the fort-wall at the Southern end of this site; in the patch, flags were used extensively. The fort-wall ran on without a break past the point where a gate-passage was expected, but at this point there is a very pronounced settlement in

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Figure 2
the east wall of the rampart-building, which has dipped about two feet, six feet north of the partition-wall : we may suspect that the subsidence has been caused by the insufficient filling of an earlier gap in the rampart--that is to say, that there is a gate-passage below the wall.25 Heavy rain made it impossible to continue the examination of this site, so attention was turned to the north gate, which appeared to have been most completely examined by Anthony Hedley; so that excavation there, whilst it would recover the plan, was not likely to produce such stratification as would suffer from work done in the unfavourable weather then prevailing. The gateway (fig. 2) proved to be of a type unknown in Wall-forts, though met with, for example, at Newstead--a single passage flanked by guardchambers, which in this case project five feet outside the fort-wall. The passage is 12 feet wide and a 21 feet long; the internal dimensions of the guard-chambers average 15 feet by 9 1/2 feet. Two periods were distinguishable. In the first, the gate-passage had a surface of rammed gravel; the masonry of the gateway was all re-used material, with shale (no doubt from the extensive deposits on the north bank of the Brackies burn) used in the place of lime-mortar or clay; I know of no parallel to this feature. In the second period, a roadway of large flags was laid in the passage and on into the interior of the fort, nearly a foot higher than the earlier roadway (cf. plate xxxvii, figs. 1 and 2). In the passage itself the flags had been largely robbed, no doubt during Hedley's examination of the structure26, but farther south they remain in position, and extend for upwards of thirty yards into the fort. The eastern guard-chamber was found to have been completely cleared; that on the west was almost undisturbed. Here an oven had been constructed in the course of the first period (cf. plate xxxviii, figs. 1 and 2, and fig. 2); in the second period a floor partly of flags was laid over the remains of the oven. The only pottery from this floor was a scrap of Huntcliff ware.

The outer corners of the gateway are all dipping very noticeably; that on the north-west27 has collapsed, and has been repaired by the addition of a rough buttress, whose core was full of fallen facing-stones, and bound together with a quantity of the same brown mortar as was noted as characteristic of Theodosian work on site C. At Birdoswald the via principalis was paved, in the same period, with large flags, so that the Theodosian date of the second period in the north gate is confirmed.

24 The work in the vicus took place in the latter part of May and in June; that in the fort, in July. In the earlier work, two men only were employed; in the later, five.
25 The dip in this wall can be seen in plate xxxvi, fig. 2.
26 Cf. p. 185 above.
27 Cf. plate xxxviii, fig. 2.
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Excavations of 1930 · Reports & Papers