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Stanegate
Topic Started: Dec 24 2006, 02:13 PM (1,322 Views)
MBetz
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I wonder about the name of the road which predates the building of Hadrian's Wall and the future Military Way. Stanegate seems to be from Old English and defines as the stone opening, or even stone gate. My reading about the Stanegate frontier (or not frontier) often makes mention of the roadway and alludes to it being a Roman road. Does this mean a classic road paved in stone? I think the settlers after the Roman period may have called the road the "Stanegate" because of the milestone markers along the road and not because it was paved in stone. I was rereading "Band of Brothers" and reminded of the letter that says the road is in a terrible condition. What if the road is the Stanegate and was generally a dirt track with numerous milestone markers? Wouldn't this change how research plans must be developed to find the Stanegate? Is there any research published on archaeology of the Stanegate, the road, and not the frontier? Any further incite would be helpful.
Matt
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MBetz
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Sign me up. I think Harry and Mr. Twicey would do well as a pair. No sharp objects for either, though. Must have safety at the excavation. I guess that leaves wheel barrow duty for them then. Any thought given to why the early fort or forts at Vindolanda faced south if the Stanegate was north of the site? Maybe an earlier road from the south was more important or maybe an indigenous settlement was nearby. I read that Roman Military Doctrine was to always face their fortifications towards the military threat (sounds pretty straight forward) so is it reasonable to wonder if the threat may then have been greater to the south than north in the early development of Vindolanda?
Matt
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MBetz
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Has there been a date discovered for the camp further west that is bisected by the stanegate? That camp is on an east-west axis and on a slope with good views to the north, east, and southeast. Vindolanda is situated in a shallow plateau, defended by streams and stream valleys to the south, east and northeast. Views directly east and southeast are blocked by barcombe hill and views to the west are cut off by the rising of teh hill slope. I understand the fort may have been sited to protect the ford but is that becuase a road existed already and the future Roman road improved upon that road and shifted its course to run more northerly than a previous road once did? Could the original fort built on the plateau have faced east-west showing a line of march possibly? Only later it was shifted to a north-south axis as the fort was to be built for a smaller garrison?
There are many tumuli and monuments in the area. How much archaeology has been done in the past at possible indigenous sites? Are some fields still plowed or do most farmers have pasture for sheep and cattle? It would be a grand adventure to do a day of fieldwalking in areas near the tumuli and monuments (mare & foal come to mind). Who knows what may turn up.
Mateo
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MBetz
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Is the camp or fort to the west of Vindolanda scheduled? That seems an intriguing bit of ground to research both physically and through historical documents. Who may have dug there, even trial stuff, or what may have been discovered by previous owners (in the medieval period). I'm sure many people have thought about attempting to date the earthworks.
Matt
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MBetz
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answered my own question: yes it is scheduled. But it has not been investigated other than to mark its earthworks. How hard is it to get permission to do a survey of the site with metal detecting and fieldwalking? I know, metal detecting has a bad rep. in many places but used as a tool of archaeology it can help to define areas of interest for further study. Obviously, geophysics would need to be done. The site is considered a camp because it shows no stone fortifications and no proper gatehouse structure? What if the military erected places like this for short term use: 6months to a year. A berm, ditch and wood palisade is all that would be needed. Photos show ridge and furrow agriculture occured at some point. I still wonder if any antiquarians ever heard stories of finds or discovered anything themselves.

matt
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MBetz
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Harry-
I love maps and have the OS OL 43 Explorer map. On it are plenty of earthworks like camps and tumuli, and weirdly named features like the "mare and foal". I have the "Roman Camps in England" book by RCHME and it is quite good for explaining the basic layout of camps. So few have been archaeologically tested. Seatsides, the camp west of Vindolanda on the stanegate, is one of those many that has not been excavated to my knowledge. It is unfortunate that metal detector testing is not allowed on scheduled sites. To me, detectors are another tool for understanding the make up of an area (hate the word "site", too many definitions by archaeologists for that word). The detectorists do not need to dig the "hit" but recording the type of metal, how far into the earth and location can be helpful in seeing any patterns that might explain what went on previously in the detectored area. GPS plotting of the detector hits along with the basic data seems very helpful, and no actual digging would have been done. Maybe for this next five year plan for the Hadrian's Wall heritage zone, more test excavation in selected camps can be done to help put the camps around Vindolanda in a context that would explain the development of the central location on the stanegate route.

Andy- What was your dissertation on for your Master's? Justin must be sweating a decision for his. I think he has to have one shortly. Justin, do you have one yet? I'm just finishing module one so I have some time.

Does the Vindolanda Trust purchase the Archaeologia Aeliana (sp?)? I can not access it from online and I know a great amount of reports have been published in that journal for Northumberland and Hadrian's Wall. That would be a great couple of days just sitting and reading all the back issues. I am such a goober!
Matt
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MBetz
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Harry is of course explaining the latest U.S. model of wheelbarrow. But he forgot the most important item, the stereo. I would think 8" bass speakers, mounted on the arms of the wheelbarrow blasting the latest by Jay-Z, Fifty cent or maybe some new hip-hop queen. Now that wheelbarrow is stylin! Peace, Love, and Dirt
I'm out!
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MBetz
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I would say that you are describing the ex-Mr. Britney Spears!
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MBetz
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While digging this season I had a chance to visit Roman Corbridge and see the Stanegate. Quite impressive. Would it have been as impressive outside of the towns and near any forts or way stations. I have been on roads that go from one town to another with nothing between and they seem to be the least maintained stretches. I wonder if it was similar during Roman times. Out of sight out of mind ya know for repairs and the like.
Matt
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MBetz
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Harry,
While at Corbridge I was thinking of that particular letter that bemoans the fact that the road is in such horrid repair. Of course if I lived in the big town and owned a business I wouldn't be out in the country much and might not know that the roads were quagmires and full of pot holes. The town roads would be in good repair and show off the "might" of Rome. Awe the locals and all.
Matt
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