Welcome Guest [Log In] [Register]

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!

Viewing Single Post From: Excavations of 1967-1969
Member Avatar
[ *  * ]
Room XIV. In period II this room housed the building's latrine. A stone rectangular structure had been erected in the middle of the room, creating a two foot six inch channel around the walls (Plate XIII, 1). Above this channel timber seating had presumably been erected. There was no provision for flushing out this latrine, and one must assume that it was instead provided with latrine buckets, emptied daily. In period III, the channel was filled in with clay and rubble, and the top had been flagged, to create a flat floor over all the room. The room thus ceased to be a latrine, but its new purpose was not apparent.

Spoiler: click to toggle
Plate XIII, 1

Room XV. Overlying baulks and the cross-wall of the period IV structure have so far prevented the examination of this room.

The Courtyard. The small area so far examined (Note: somewhat more has been excavated since the plan was drawn) exhibits at least three successive floors, of which the earliest two were cobbles and the last a heavy flagged floor, associated with period IV. 2 feet 10 inches from the NE corner of the courtyard lay the eastern edge of a cut-stone water channel (Plate XIII, 2) 1 foot wide, with the centrally cut groove 6 inches wide and 3 1/2 inches deep. Five of these channel stones remained in position in the courtyard, and a further stone lay outside the building to the north. All were approximately 2 feet 3 1/2 inches long. The water channel had been destroyed, probably at the end of period II, when the courtyard floor was raised 9 inches. There should be a water-tank nearer the southern end of the courtyard, to take the flow from the channel.

Spoiler: click to toggle
Plate XIII, 2

The Theodosian (period IV) building. The nature of the period IV structure has already been described. It had suffered heavily from stone-robbing at its northern end, but the individual character of its masonry can be seen in the photograph (Plate XIV, 1). In both room XII and in the courtyard nearby were found examples of Huntcliffe type pottery, associated with the post-A.D. 369 period IV in Wall forts, together with the strangely patterned piece (no. 11 on the pottery figure 1) which may be a Romano-Saxon type. Beneath the late flagging in room XII was a deposit of Wall period III pottery, and between the flagstones at the southern end of the building was a small lead sling bullet, the sole military object found in the structure. Such bullets had been found in the north at only Burnswark, Birdoswald and Ambleside previously.

Spoiler: click to toggle
Plate XIV, 1

The examination of the building will be completed in the 1970 season. It will remain open, and it is hoped that the Ministry of Public Building and Works may be able to conserve it for permanent display.

Commander’s House, Diocletianic/Theodosian Forts

In June 1832, John Hodgson spent a few days with Anthony Hedley at Chesterholm. He made sketches of the altars and sculptured stones that Hedley had recently discovered in the Commander's House, which he later published in his History of Northumberland (part ii, vol. iii, 1840). But he also made a rough sketch of the excavation, which was never published, and it can be found, together with notes made on the spot, in the Hodgson MSS in the Black Gate Library (M15 A 39 p. 355 for the sketch, and p. 354 and p. 356 for the notes). In a later notebook, in which he gathered together his scattered Roman material, he re-drew the sketch-plan and amended the original notes. This second plan differs in some respects from the first (see M15 A51 Vindolanda section).

The scale drawing offered here (Plan G) is based upon the two Hodgson sketches, but it cannot claim to be an accurate version of Hedley's excavation, since the measurements given were only approximate, and some important features were not measured at all. The notes, made in June 1832, are appended below, with important additional information from the second version added in brackets. The numbers in the text refer to the rooms, etc., marked in Roman numerals on Plan G.

Spoiler: click to toggle
Plan G

“1. This part is floored in the ordinary way of baths and stands on pillars of the usual height but of various shapes and diameters, many of them stones used in former buildings. (Note : on his sketch-plans this room's measurements are given as 19 feet N/S by 21 feet E/W.)

2. The mouth of the furnace or (kilneye) much reddened with fire. It is four feet or more length-wise, has been arched over at the height of the pillars of the hypocaust but under and higher at the entrance than at the end, thus (drawing) about 14 inches at the far end.

3. Another floored room on lower pillars than no. 1, about 12 feet each way.

4. 3 foot 10 inches by 2 foot 3 inches lined on the sides and floor with bath cement (`a sort of chaldron or cistern’).

5. 5 foot 5 inches by 4 foot, also lined with bath cement (but without a hypocaust. Hist. Nor.).

6. 7 foot broad by 9 foot 6 inches from north to south. Has traces of bath cement on its flagged floor or walls (there was no hypocaust beneath this floor).

7. and 8. Buttresses which have been added to strengthen the walls. They stand against and no. 7 supports a wall fallen from its perpendicular.

The masonry is all squared and pecked ashlar work built with lime. The stones of various thickness and the coins frequently thicker than the courses. The bottoms of the rooms have had the angles between the floor and side walls rounded off with pieces of broken brick, tile or small stones before the bath plaster was put on, thus (drawing).

This mass of ruins is about 35 feet from E to W by 26 feet from N to S (a misprint—the N/S measurement is 56 feet), and has had other buildings branching off it to the S (corrected to W in the later version, but his Hist. Northumberland gives E, W and S), and East as appears by foundations. Perhaps the wall jutting from it on the east is only a buttress, it is about 45 feet from the East wall (of the fort) and to the north of the East gate—about 60 feet from the east gate in the direction of NW. 9, 11, 12 (but on his plan 9, l0, 11) the three altars (a description of them follows)."

Rooms XII, XIII, XIV and XV were not numbered on Hodgson's sketches.

This excavation was clearly in the bath-suite of the Diocletianic-Theodosian Commander's House, and when the opportunity for re-excavation occurs, it will he interesting to see how accurate Hodgson's description was, and to discover how much of the structure survives. After Hedley's work on the fort-walls, stone-robbers removed many of the facing stones, and it must be feared that the Commander's House suffered the same fate.

In a letter to Hodgson, dated Feb. 28th 1932, Anthony Hedley wrote: “I shall get drawings of my altars, and plans, etc. and send the whole to John Swinburne, as promised, that he may do what he likes with them”. Hedley was a scrupulous correspondent, and no doubt he did send them. Where are they now?
Offline Profile Quote Post
Excavations of 1967-1969 · Reports & Papers