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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!

Thanks for 7 great years!

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Area A. The barracks; June 09
Topic Started: Jun 24 2009, 04:14 PM (594 Views)
SacoHarry
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Michael, it was great to finally meet you in person at Friends' Night. Thanks again so much for all of these pics! It'll be a lot of fun at the end of the season to piece together the story of the dig.

This late fort (4th Century & beyond, Periods VIII, IX, and X) is really fascinating. It kind of throws the book out about what we used to know about fort life. I saw a lot while visiting, and Andy & Justin's talks at Friends' Night were a huge help making sense of it. The evidence is overwhelming that from ~AD 300 all the populace of Vindolanda had moved inside the fort walls. The NW corner, which had once held standard barracks in the 3rd C (Period VII), had become -extremely- un-barrack-like throughout the 4th. Individual houses started taking on their own footprints, there is evidence for leanto's, additions, etc. And from what I can see, it all seems rather higgledy-piggledy. It's hard to picture a garrison commander just letting it all go unsupervised, but right now it's hard to say what kind of oversight he exercised.

Andy says one of the big questions he's asking this year is "Was the fort wall the great divide" -- was there a harsh distinction between "military" inside the walls and "civilian" outside. The question's kind of moot in the 4th C, since -all- people were living inside. But it'll still be very interesting to see if these houses all contained civilian shops, or if military barracks were interspersed. It's also a huge test of archaeology itself -- can physical remains -really- tell you what you need to know about who a person was & how they lived?

There is also growing evidence for significant post-Roman activity. Anglo-Saxon artefacts keep coming up (I'll leave it to others more knowledgeable to post & discuss -- hint, hint!), as do buildings that were clearly built & occupied into the 5th C. There's almost no doubt now that Vindolanda remained vibrant well after the Roman occupation officially ended. The big question is, what was the nature of it? Was it a warlord's fortress? A defended civilian community? A monastic centre? All of the above?

It all just looks like a lot of fun. Wish I could hop back on a plane and be digging tomorrow!
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