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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.

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Stanegate
Topic Started: Dec 24 2006, 02:13 PM (1,327 Views)
Andy
Dr Andrew Robin Birley
[ *  * ]
Hi Guys,

There are some excavated stretches of the stanegate that you can go and walk on, the best known is the high street running through ancient Corbidge. The road is most likely to have been mettled for most of the way, rather than flagged, although flagging may have been used to posh up some sections that travelled through settlements like Corbridge and the linear development of the extramural settlement at Carvoran, Carlisle etc.

However, as part of the 2008-2013 excavation plans at Vindolanda, we hope to put a trench across where we think the road runs (through the north field) to locate the road and see just what it was made of as it runs past Vindolanda. I take it we can sign you three gents up for that trench? A real modern road gang, I'll get the uniforms ready for the three of you.

best,


Andrew
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Andy
Dr Andrew Robin Birley
[ *  * ]
I am starting to wonder if military building at Vindolanda has less to do with doctorine than personal taste. For instance the Antonine commander of the fort build his HQB facing south, but he also filled it with murals and scultpure worhiping the sun god. Would not be much sense in facing the building north under those circumstances. However, I am quite happy to concede that both a threat and a possible centre of population may have been to the south as well. Alas, neither of these have yet to be determined beyond doubt. Most settlement in Northumberland during the iron age seems to have been hill top related. Probably due to the lackof drainage in the valleys, and the scrub oak, brambles and good hunting.
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Andy
Dr Andrew Robin Birley
[ *  * ]
Hi Matt, lots and lots of question in this one. I'll do my best.

1. Date for the camp bisected by the stanegate? No, although it could easily be pre or post stanegate. Why? The main road could have gone right through the middle. Also worth considering is that this may be more than a camp, something a little more permanent. Until some excavation is timetabled for this area we simply will not know.

2. The road path. Well, the situation of Vindolanda is strange from a purely defensive perspective, mostly as Barcombe hill overlooks the site, as do the hills to the north and west, and let’s face it, there is a hill to the south which partially blocks the view of the Tyne valley below as well. However, from a logistical perspective, it is an excellent location. More important than the road (which never went directly though the fort, but always passed it to the north) is the fresh water supply, the mineral wealth of the surrounding hillsides, coal, iron, lead, and of course clay and lime stone. Added to this the land to expand which is to the west, and you have a pretty good location. To compensate for the military issues they place the signal towers on Barcombe Hill, which gives that extra view and links the fort into the frontier system. Logistically, most forts probably faced either east west (to their extramural areas and supply) or north to the main road. There is not much to suggest the presence of a road before the Romans arrived. Infact the debate recently has been 'did the early forts have a road at all?'

Tumuli – there are plenty of them, most have been holed by antiquarian excavators or farmers, and some are disputed in origin as either archaeological features or post glacial features. Iron age bods do not seem to want to bother with them in this area, so we are somewhat non the wiser.

Ploughing – not much in this area. Although last year I did notice ploughing going on at Great Chesters in the field to the south of the fort. This may be breaking the law, it would be if the land has been scheduled, as ploughing is generally forbidden on such land. But most land around here is pasture, no crops, so not much point in field walking, unless you want to kick over mole hills (which is always fun, and I have uncovered bits of pottery that way before).
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Andy
Dr Andrew Robin Birley
[ *  * ]
Matt,

Your not allowed to use a metal detector on Scheduled land. Doing work needs an SMC and the landowners permission. Landowners don't like to give permission and to get an SMC you need 6months and a team of specialists lined up. Oh, and lots of cash, a museum to take the finds (should the landowner not want them, as everything belongs to the landowner) and a conservation lab............and a publication date...the list goes on and on....

But you are correct, these places could and in some cases probably were used for more than a one night B&B, however, short of someone dropping a couple of million pounds into the Vindolanda Trust bank account, we will probably neve know. Which is sad, but there it is.

Andy

P.S. nothing solid on the antiquarian front on this one, although things do turn up many miles from the site.
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Andy
Dr Andrew Robin Birley
[ *  * ]
Matt,

You don't have a spare couple of million do you? Harry might offer something here, but I am not sure if I can afford the payments!

:rolleyes:

Andy
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Andy
Dr Andrew Robin Birley
[ *  * ]
Matt,

I skipped the MA and went right to the PhD.

Andy
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Andy
Dr Andrew Robin Birley
[ *  * ]
The wheelbarrow,

This years must have accessory for the excavations. Those best dressed sport a little French number called the Hamerlin. Long handled with a good suspension, the Hamerlin is the barrow of choice for all those who care how they look while knackered. Of course, if you’re a chav you may opt for the English equivalent. They look good enough at first but after a few days the rust sets in, the wheel deflates and the nuts drop off.

:unsure:
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