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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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Hi Justin-T,

I hope that the slots will move at a more sensible pace, but to be honest with you, I have been rubbish at predicting it in the past so I will keep my powder dry this time.

Hi Badger,

More technical because we will be running two areas simultaneously and one of those areas if not both will eventually have significant pre-Hadrianic elements, as set out in A3. The last week of the current SMC proved beyond any doubt that this can't be dealt with without significant training and extra supervision. For example, if 60 shoes come out one afternoon, and each needs to be carefully excavated without possibly damaging tablets or any other nearby artefacts, then this takes some getting used to by each team member. Not to mention each artefact needs to be adequately recorded and cared for immediately. Digging it up is just the start after all. The biggest challenge we will face is people listening and then following instructions carefully and to the letter. This will include where to stand, how to stand, how to move, how to move as little as possible in some cases, how to excavate quickly enough not to be defeated by water but not so that you miss things, signs in the soil, how to excavate and what not to do as much as what to do, and on and on it goes :-).

It is a different skill set, and it has to be learned and then executed more or less perfectly, and we will help people to do this. I know that not everyone will get it, and those that don't won't be placed in an area/situation where they could do more harm than good. So we need to nurture and assess people for these tasks more than ever before to make sure both people and site are ready for each other.

Of course, added to this, the recording will go up a new level this coming SMC as it always does for all areas. 5 years is a long time in archaeology, and we have to implement a consistent level of recording throughout an SMC so that each years results are comparable with one another, it is no good changing the system half way through. With the new SMC the level of recording will be a greater challenge than the previous one, this takes time to learn and time to manage. It is all extremely positive, as we get an awful amount of new data because of the changes, but, it places a greater burden on the whole team which has to be carefully managed. So next year you might find yourself taking and processing the soil samples as well as pottery and bone, you might find that you do this a lot because we have to take literally 'tones' of soil samples. You will doubtless find yourself involved in much more recording than ever before, new skills to be absorbed and taken on board :-). I think those that come along will really benefit from it, but of course I am biased!

Edited by Andy, Sep 25 2012, 09:39 AM.
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2013 Excavations and the new SMC · Excavation & General Archaeology Discussions - Open to All!