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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!

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Topic Started: Nov 7 2006, 06:32 PM (328 Views)
Dr Andrew Robin Birley
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Hi Matt, Harry,

We have done Magnetometer surveys in the field to the north of the site, across the Stanegate road, which has show that the settlement in the 3rd/4th century does cross the road to the north. There are signs of possible mausoleums beside the road, and lots of pits. The field was drained in the 1830's and this work was paused when Roman boots and shoes were recovered from a depth of 5 feet. It is unlikely that the geophysical survey caught any of the buildings/landscape associated with such deep layers so the field remains somewhat of a mystery. The Vindolanda Trust purchased the land based on the Hedley description of the remains more than the geophis, although this has been useful. I remain deeply concerned at the way in which geophysics is being used in the UK as a be all and end all tool for scheduling and other such activities, and to be honest, here my sympathy is firmly with the farmers. Until you actually go in to the field and test the results to work out what they really do mean, it remains somewhat a shot in the dark as to how to intemperate features. Farmers always feel they get the rough end of the stick in such circumstances, and sadly, in most cases they do.

Bearing this in mind, we would like to run some test trenches through this field during the next major phase of the excavations (although we will not be running a major excavation in this area until we know what we are dealing with). I personally want to find the Ancient line of the Stanegate road, and get its true course planned in (basic stuff really, but we need to do this in the future). We will be working on planning the next phase this summer, but are looking at a session of work that would stretch from 2008 to 2013, so it takes a great deal of planning and pen pushing. Two major areas have been considered by the Vindolanda research committee, one a quadrant of the fort, the second, a large extramural area (the bit outside the walls). A formal announcement will follow on the decision they make about the future direction of research at Vindolanda. Any work that is undertaken will of course be subject to being able to obtain an SMC, scheduled monument consent, to do the work.

Otherwise, Justin has done some surveys at the western end of the site with the guys from Piddington Roman Villa using a magnetometer. The results arenít great to be honest. The ground conditions at Vindolanda sometimes make things a little tricky. No work like this has been done inside the fort, not worth it. We have stone buildings, stone roads and stone floors filled with rubble, so you wonít get any results worth speaking of.

Hope this is helpful,


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