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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!

Viewing Single Post From: 2013 Excavations and the new SMC
Dr Andrew Robin Birley
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A basic guide to what we will be up to.

Research aims and objectives - introduction:

The following research aims and objectives for this SMC application have been carefully considered by the Vindolanda Trust’s Research Committee in consultation with colleagues from across the profession. They offer an important sustainable continuity of the research strategy of the Vindolanda Trust and fulfill the wider aims and objectives as set out by the Agenda and Strategy section of the Research Framework for Hadrian’s Wall (Symonds & Mason 2009). In particular the scale and scope of this proposed project meet the criteria set out in the Action plan section of the Research Framework for Hadrian’s Wall under section D – Flagship projects (Symonds & Mason 2009: 58). The proposed project comprehensively covers a wide range of thematic initiatives which will deliver on multiple agenda items from the Research Framework and will continue to raise the profile of Hadrian’s Wall research on a national and international level while providing numerous opportunities for community/communities involvement in that research.

The project (The Vindolanda ‘frontiers in transition’ project) has three important main objectives, A1 – A3, each with a number of sub-objectives.

A1. The aims and objectives set out in A1 are to examine the transition from pre-Roman to Roman at Vindolanda and thereby gain a better appreciation of both the ‘conquest’ period and the foundation of the pre-Hadrian’s Wall frontier, otherwise known as the Stanegate Frontier. The most appropriate place to examine this transition is in the field to the north of the modern line of the Stanegate road. Here the remains of early timber forts have been partially explored in trial trenching work undertaken as part of the last SMC (2008-2012). The follow on work proposed by this SMC application is a more considered approach based on the geophysical survey of 2008, and the trial trenching of 2009 & 2010.

A2. The results of the 2008-2011 excavations have raised challenging and exciting questions as to how representative the north-western quadrant of the fort was when compared to the rest of the fort. The discovery of a temple dedicated to the god Jupiter Dolichenus during the 2009 excavations, constructed on top of the rampart mound, is a unique feature within a Roman fort from anywhere in the Roman Empire (Birley Andrew R & Birley Anthony R 2010: 25-52). That a temple should be found in such a context contests established perceptions of how military and religious spaces were used within a Roman fort. Added to this remarkable find, it became apparent that the barrack-blocks which were contemporary to the construction and use of the temple, situated to the immediate south, had been gated at its southern end. This was another unique feature which may or may not be directly associated with the nearby temple complex. The gated barracks may have been used to create a ‘gated
community’ or closed off space within the fort itself, perhaps to house a detachment from a different regiment or a segregated part of the community. However, without a suitable comparable dataset of material from another quadrant of the 3rd century fort it remains difficult to ascertain whether or not those living in the north-western quadrant may have been ‘normal’ or ‘representative’ as part of the more general fort community in the 3rd century.
To solve this problem the careful excavation of another quadrant of the 3rd century fort is required to provide a comparable dataset of material culture from which it will be possible to ascertain whether or not the north-western quadrant was representative of the 3rd century occupation inside the fort. It is proposed that this excavation would take place over a five year period in conjunction with area A1.

Area A3:
A3. The Agenda and Strategy report within the Research Framework for Hadrian’s Wall makes it
clear that ‘it is important that researchers continue to devise new ways of interrogating and testing the relationship, both initially and over time, between the Stanegate and the Wall.’ (section 3.7 in Symonds & Mason 2009:38). The proposed research is targeted specifically at interrogating and testing the relationship between the Stanegate and Hadrian’s Wall. It will specifically search for the location of the missing headquarters and granary buildings from the period IV fort at Vindolanda, sites of key interest to this question. The period IV fort at Vindolanda, cAD105-120’s is crucial to the period of Hadrian’s Wall construction as it is the fort that straddles the important transition from the Stanegate to the Hadrian’s Wall frontier (cAD122-130). The potential for learning more about the build up to and construction period of Hadrian’s Wall through an examination of the site of the headquarters and granary buildings within this fort is enormous. The excavation would take place below the floors of later 3rd century vicus buildings (already consolidated and on display) which are situated to the south side of the main vicus east/west roadway.
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2013 Excavations and the new SMC · Excavation & General Archaeology Discussions - Open to All!