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Calendar find; At last we can tell the world
Topic Started: Jul 28 2008, 05:02 PM (1,576 Views)
brypop
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Brypop
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At last Kate and I have been given permission to shout out to the world about our greatest ever find which we uncovered on 7/7/2008. Andy told us that the press release went out on friday in the Hexham Courant, and I will post the link to the article in a few minutes, announcing the finding of a fragment of a portable calendar. We were sworn to secrecy and have been struggling to keep mum for all this time.
We would just like to say a big thank you to Andy and Robin and the rest of the team and we are so happy to have found such a unique artifact.

We wanted to be the first to post my picture of the calendar so here it is for those of you who weren't there to witness the dicovery.
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Kate 13
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Kate F
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Couldn't have said it better myself Bryan - the whole experience of excavating at Vindolanda is special and unique.

Kate :D
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brypop
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Here is the link which I promised so that anyone can look at the article in the Hexham Newspaper

http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk/1.210333
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brypop
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Kate I hope HJCB leader is not too mad at us. I think you should add a few words about the find and your first impressions when we realised what we had found.
:D :lol:
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Kate 13
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Kate F
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brypop
Jul 28 2008, 05:15 PM
Kate I hope HJCB leader is not too mad at us. I think you should add a few words about the find and your first impressions when we realised what we had found.
:D  :lol:

Oh My God!!! are three words which describe pretty much what I was thinking when we found the calender. It was raining - our sieving of the material from channel B of the eastern 'granary' had been called off due to mud encased hands and the impossibility of the task - and Andy had to find somewhere to put us to keep us quiet!!! And lo and behold, there it was in our new trench. We both saw it at the same time.

The letters TEMBER were immediately legible and I remember thinking it must be SEPTEMBER, and there it was on clearing the dirt off. Talking to Alex helped puzzle the rest out (the K, N, ID and the holes for the dates) and the odd AE which I think refers to the autumn equinox remains for debate.

We all thoroughly enjoyed the wine in the Twicie on the last night of the dig - Sophie, David, Anthea, Rosie, Bryan and me ...

Can't wait to see it in the museum,

Kate ;)
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SacoHarry
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Holy smokes!

I'm giddy from 3000 miles away. That is a -seriously- incredible find! First one in Britain, and maybe the Roman world??? Huge congrats!!

I've posted the article in the Courant in the "Vindolanda in the Media" section, thanks tons for that link Bryan. That's a piece of news that deserves to get noticed.
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brypop
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Cheers Harry have a drink to celebrate. The two weeks we were digging were just fantastic and with this find I can only say that it was the icing on the cake. I wish I could be up there more often. It certainly is the find of my short excavating career and I will be happy just finding pot and the odd fort wall in the future.

Bryan :rolleyes:
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Kate 13
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Kate F
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SacoHarry
Jul 28 2008, 06:20 PM
Holy smokes!

I'm giddy from 3000 miles away. That is a -seriously- incredible find! First one in Britain, and maybe the Roman world??? Huge congrats!!

I've posted the article in the Courant in the "Vindolanda in the Media" section, thanks tons for that link Bryan. That's a piece of news that deserves to get noticed.

Thanks for posting the article Harry. We are chuffed to be able to share the news with everyone at last. Vindolanda has to be the most exciting site to work at in the UK.

Kate ;)
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Sue Munro
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What an amazing find!

We're hoping to visit on Thursday, so see if you can find us any more nice things while we're there!

When in the autumn will the calendar go on display so I can come and have look?
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brypop
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Thanks for your comments Sue and Harry. Matt our illustrious HJCB team leader is a little quiet so I assume he is tired from all his digging. If anyone can find more it is him and we will be so pleased if he does.
I have been spreading the word in Dorset and my local society are very excited. Perhaps their annual trip next year will take in a visit to the site?

Here are a couple more photographs, firstly a close up and then a photo of me spreading the word at our summer excavation site in the Purbecks. May well tell you about that site in the coming weeks?

Did anyone take a picture of Kate and I holding the calendar? We would be most grateful if they could post it as we cannot remember in the chaos after the find.
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brypop
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The other photo
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Duncan
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I think it's find's like this that totally vindicates the Trusts excavation policy, shedding so much light on Roman life on the Wall and environs. Just think what must be waiting to be found elsewhere in the region, if only they had the will to excavate!
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Kate 13
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Kate F
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I printed the article off too Bryan have laminated a copy as a keepsake. We were so lucky to make this find and I'm looking forward to our next visit to Vindolanda.

Duncan: agree 100% with everything you say. Keep up the good work Vindolanda Trust.

Kate :)
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Kate 13
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Another article was published today in the Hexham Courant about the piece of perpetual Roman Calender that Bryan and I discovered at Vindolanda on 7th July this year. It adds some details. Here's the link:

http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/1.213337

or read below. There's a picture on the original article.

"Vindolanda calendar is one of rarest finds
By BRIAN TILLEY brian.tilley@hexham-courant.co.uk

Last updated 13:35, Thursday, 31 July 2008

ANOTHER glittering jewel has been added to the Roman treasure trove that is the Vindolanda fort at Bardon Mill.

Treasure trove: The extremely rare perpetual calendar unearthed at Vindolanda.Archaeologists excavating the massive twin granaries at the site have come across part of an object never found in Britain before – a Roman perpetual calendar.

The fragment, just eight centimetres long and made of bronze, features the month of September.

It has a line of punched holes, each representing two days.

The correct days are marked for the Kalends, (Kalendae) here abbreviated by a K, the first day of the month, followed by N for the Nones (Nonae) the 5th, and ID for the Ides (Idus) the 13th, as well as the autumn Equinox, the 23rd, here marked as AE, short for Aequinoctium.

The complete calendar would have been a portable circular disc, around 25 centimetres in diameter, and every two days a peg would have been moved into the next hole, so that the correct date could be read.

Director of Vindolanda Research, Robin Birley, was astonished by the find.

He said: “I had always wondered how the soldiers could keep track of dates, without the benefit of daily newspapers and diaries.

“In the larger towns and cities, a calendar would be inscribed or painted on to the side of a building, but without some method of indicating the passing of days it could have been somewhat confusing.

“The army system of a portable calendar, like the Vindolanda example, was brilliantly simple – as long as the clerk responsible for moving the pegs every two days did his job properly.”

This calendar is the only example to be found in Britain so far and, as far as is known, none have been found in other parts of what was the Roman Empire.

The Vindolanda Trust’s director of excavations, Andrew Birley, commented: “This is an extraordinary find, and it ranks with the famous writing tablets as one of the rarest objects ever found at Vindolanda.”

The calendar will be exhibited at the Vindolanda museum this autumn when conservation is completed in the museum laboratory.

Even though Julius Caesar reformed the calendar in 46BC, neither he nor anyone else simplified their archaic system of naming the days of the month.

There were three fixed points. The Kalends were so called because on the first, the times of the Nones and various festivals were “called out”.

The Ides got their name from being at the middle or dividing point of the month, and the Nones from being the ninth day before the Ides.

To complicate matters further, although the Nones were on the fifth of the month for eight months out of 12, they were on the seventh in March, May, July and October — because in those months the Ides had to be on the 15th instead of the 13th.

Dates between the Kalends and Nones, Nones and Ides and Ides and the next Kalends had to be calculated backwards.

Vindolanda is one of the most exciting sites along Hadrian’s Wall with its wealth of archaeological remains and ongoing excavations.

Excavations with a large contingent of volunteers drawn from all over the world will continue every day until mid-September (weather permitting).

For further information visit www.vindolanda.com or telephone (01434) 344277."

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SacoHarry
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Two great articles in one week, nice! I've added this one to the "Vindolanda in the News" page too so it'll always be front & center. Congrats again. Hoping it won't be too long before I can get over and admire it in the museum!
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