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Area B 2007: A synopsis; My initial thoughs of what it all meant
Topic Started: Sep 27 2007, 02:08 PM (784 Views)
Justin
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Hi everyone,

This post is just a brief explanation of what I reckon your hard digging turned up in my area in 2007. My full thoughts and more considered findings will of course appear in our next publication, but I know what an impatient lot you are and that you will want to know what the areas you worked on turned out to be. So here goes....
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Justin
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Area B concentrated on an area in the west of the extra-mural settlement, immediately to the southeast of the two small temple-tombs excavated in 2006. The following is a brief chronological outline of the main features excavated.

1. A limited number of ard, or plough, marks were visible in the far west of the excavated area. These had been cut into the natural orange ground clay and appear to have been the earliest human activity on this part of the site. Their appearance, some 250m away from the western defences of the earliest forts at Vindolanda, is perhaps unsurprising given the amount of agricultural activity which must have taken place relatively near to the fort. Obviously an exact date is impossible to ascribe, but the large post pits of early second century date appeared to cut through them meaning they were likely to have been cut sometime before AD 101.
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Justin
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2. Several more of the large timber posts, first found in 2006 and dated to the early second century, were uncovered both to the west and east of previously excavated areas. Their distinctive arrangement appeared to continue. A single row of posts formed the outer, northern, wall. One of these had again been cross-braced with four separate oak beams, presumably for extra stability. Just to the south, lay a parallel row of post pits, each containing four or five posts. There was also further evidence for a third row of post pits, each of which had contained a pair of posts and had been packed with river boulders. With its very different building style it is possible that this particular row of posts belonged to a separate building. The main building’s function is still unclear, its flooring having been completely truncated by later Roman building activity, however, if it was a single structure, it extended for at least 65m in an east-west direction. Several of the new posts have now been removed ready for dendrochronology. By next excavation season we may have an even more refined date.
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Justin
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more post pics, this time after I had dug down in Sept to get a few fro dendro. As you can see - a ddep hole was needed to get them out
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Justin
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3. At some stage before the Hadrianic fort was built, a series of drainage ditches had been cut to lead water away from the west, north and northeast of the site. Clearly this area of the site had been wet even in Roman times, and the excess water appears to have been channelled away to the southwest of the fort and into the head of the Doe syke. These ditches had gradually accumulated layer upon layer of refuse, probably dumped by those operating the industrial workshops just to the north. One of them contained two fragments of stylus tablet, which is the most westerly point at Vindolanda where tablets have been found.
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Justin
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Another view ( abit closer of one of the ditches) Nice silting! :P
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Justin
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4. The south edge of a Hadrianic industrial workshop, first identified in 2005, was identified in the northern part of the excavated area. Substantial amounts of burning and a large quantity of lead fragments were found on its floor and its wattle walls could be traced by the post holes left in the natural clay. Little else of Hadrianic date could clearly be identified to the south of this workshop other than a few possible beam slots, although the amount of later Roman building, stone robbing and modern ploughing meant this area was extremely badly disturbed. It is quite possible that Hadrianic buildings may once have covered this part of the site.
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Justin
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5. More of a major east-west running roadway was traced making its way past the south front of the temple-tombs towards the main western gate of the Antonine fort. Flanking the south side of this roadway lay three small wells. Only one of these was stone lined, one had four large stone slabs at its head and the other had merely been cut into the natural clay. To the north side of the roadway lay a small square structure built from dressed stone. Its walls were narrow and its internal area was less than 2 sq metres. Given its location at a road side, on top of a hill, at the edge of the vicus, perhaps its most likely function was as a mausoleum
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Justin
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One of the wells
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Justin
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6. The whole area had seen substantial amounts of Victorian farm drainage. A series of 7 major field drain criss-crossed the excavated area damaging the underlying Roman levels. It was notable, however, that little or no Victorian pottery; usually spread as fertiliser, was found over the area. This was in contrast to the areas excavated in 2005/6 and perhaps indicates a different use of the land.
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Justin
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And my outstanding memory of the 2007 season........ I think the pic says it all. This summer belonged to Neptune!
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Kate 13
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Kate F
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Hi Justin,
Thank you so much for this fascinating account of the 2007 season in Area B. It is great to hear all of the information put together. Would really love to know what that 65m long building is for. Maybe next year will hold some answers. The last picture says it all - ye were all lucky not to be drowned!!! In May we were lucky to have very little in the way of rain. Hope you are enjoying a well-earned rest now. Happy report writing!
Kate.
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SacoHarry
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Justin, this write-up is -fantastic-! Thanks so much for taking the time to post it up. Especially for someone like myself who wasn't able to be there at all this year, this really gives a flavor for what Area B '07 was all about. Whets the appetite for the full report! Much appreciated for this, as well as all the pictures throughout the dig season.

- Harry
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MBetz
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Thanks, Justin. The southern area that began with little fanfare turned out to have some interesting finds after all. Did you get a chance to do some excavating to the west of the temples to look for more posts? Or did the rain put paid to doing any work on the west side of the temples?
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