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Vindolanda Excavation Expansion; What would -you- like to see?
Topic Started: Oct 2 2010, 07:54 PM (4,297 Views)
Justin-T
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I think Fiona hit on a good point, I'm not sure I'd be up to do any of these things after finishing a day's digging. I was showing up early and finishing reluctantly each day, but with only just enough energy to hike back to the Twice Brewed and an early meal. Many of the things listed would be fascinating, but I think I'd only do them on a day before or after the 5 days in the trenches are over. Doing it before or after the season wouldn't work so well for me, being 3000 miles away... :-/
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Mike C
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217 votes on what programs to run but only 35 votes on how to pay for it. Come on everyone don't forget there's two polls running & two lots of comments you can make.
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Mike C
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I though this was relevant to this discussion so it's a copy of the post I've done on the poll on how to pay for the extra costs.

I understand what people are saying about the "a al carte" model (pay as you go) but this may cause problems for the admin side. I would think they would need to know well in advance (ie approx 6 months) what programs to run, what cost would be involved & what income they would have to run the programs. A flat fee, one off payment for all, would help help admin to better budget the programs & keep the cost down to diggers. A few diggers going to one program & a few to another, would work out very expensive.

NOTnic k makes a good point.
However I should think whatever's done it would only be on one or two evenings a week (Not quiz night) or even at the weekend so it would spread the load.
I love the whole digging experience, for me it's living the dream but after 3 years digging (few that makes me feel tired) I want to know what happens after its been dug & washed. I definitely don't want it to eat into digging time, but also definitely want to know what happens next & think an hopefully small charge & a little lost relaxing time would be well worth it to expand our knowledge & add the the whole wonderful experience.

I also agree with Fiona & Georgina on posting photos. I promised Andy I would do a report on my two weeks digging in August but I've quite a few photos & don't know where to begin.
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SacoHarry
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Mike C
Oct 6 2010, 05:02 AM
217 votes on what programs to run but only 35 votes on how to pay for it. Come on everyone don't forget there's two polls running & two lots of comments you can make.
It's not quite that bad. 217 votes translates into about 75 people voting, given 3 votes each. So we're at about half the people voting for a project also willing to say how to pay. But agreed, paying for new projects is rather key! The more people willing to help Andy gauge how best to resource this, the better. Please do vote in both polls!
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Andy
Dr Andrew Robin Birley
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Thank you to everyone who has voted thus far. There is always a balance to be had but we need to know what you like and what you want more of so that we can keep the excavation a vibrant experience for the future for all of those who take part. There are admin issues of course, but as Harry stated, I see this as a long term discussion on how we can take things forward for the entire community. It is a good start.

Keep voting and keep voting for the second poll as well.

best,

Andrew
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ianandsarah
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Hello Andy, Justin and All

As an old lag (so to speak) I voted in both polls and would very much like to volunteer my (and Ian's) time & help with any admin or indeed anything that could facilitate whatever you decide to provide. The only thing that's stopping us at the minute is that we haven't yet sold our house in Sussex and can't move to Northumberland until we do. But we're still determined to get there by hook or by crook so that by the time the extras are up and running we hope to be available.

All best wishes with your work at Vindolanda and for the exciting new developments.

PS Thank you, Harry, for running the wedigvindolanda forum. It's a great way of allowing far distant devotees to keep abreast of what's going on!

Bye for now

Sarah & Ian Cuthbertson

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NicC
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Evenings are out, I think, as others have stated. One is too knackered! Weekends are out too - Andy and Justin claim to actually have lives! When Andy first mentioned the idea during our weeks of toil my impression was that certain 'volunteers' would be extracted from the trenches and educated in other aspects of actual digging e.g. survey and record. OK, volunteers not 'volunteers'!

No mention of fees was made which made the idea EXTREMELY interesting. It costs me, and others, a lot of dosh as I am self-employed so lose all my income when digging so I could only subscribe to a nominal fee. Besides, I am sure that the trust could make up some of the outlay if brilliant surveyors and recorders are unearthed (excavated!) who could assist Andy and Justin and thus ease their workload in those areas.
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MichaelH
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Lesley and Sue; you certainly started something with your “finds of the day” time!!

Nic; (One is also too tired!). :-/ I had the same impression as you, that these would be voluntary activities during the digging day which could assist (hopefully) with the running of the site.

As the museum staff, Andrew and Justin have full workloads and may not have the services of Beth and Alex in future years then this would probably mean that other professionals would need to be employed (or volunteer?) during the excavation season to run the ‘additional opportunities’.

We don’t have any idea what these activities might cost? “Specialist lecturers” sounds expensive. Unless Dr Deb Bennett is on site! Show an interest; ask a question, she could talk for hours about animal bones.

If a flat fee is charged this would not be fair to we diggers who just want to come and dig and could prevent some from volunteering especially in these times of, (as the politicians say) “international belt tightening”. :o
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Andy
Dr Andrew Robin Birley
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Hi guys,

A good discussion but fear not about the costs. I know times are tight, I face them as well, but what is on offer is and always will remain tremendous value. What we want to do is offer EVEN more, with EVEN more incredible value. Worry not. Instead allow yourself to be excited if you can.

Here is some context for the debate.........

At present the excavation fees covers less than 10% of the cost of the excavations. That's right, less than 10%.

Even with the massive hike in interest rates, from 15% to 20% (in January) I can promise that the Vindolanda Trust will absorb as much of this as possible without carrying through to the excavators. There will have to be a small increase, based on the VAT hike and inflation but almost all of this will be absorbed and not be passed down to excavators. A small part of the total cost will have to be carried through to maintain the level of what we offer at the moment, and actually improve it, for nothing.

However, if we were to offer courses and extras (and we sincerely hope that we can in the future, for the benefit of you all) there would have to be a small fee to cover them. We can't have it all for nothing, simply because at the end of the day someone has to pay for it, somehow. At present, most of it is not paid for by the excavators, we all owe a huge debt of gratitude to the visitors who come to Vindolanda, without them there would be no excavations at all.

So as you can see, the excavation is incredibly heavily subsidised by the rest of the Vindolanda Trusts operation (general public, cafe, shop), and in all honesty, I cannot ask the Director of the Trust to subsidise it any more than it already is. To be honest, I am grateful that the Director has not come to me as asked for the reverse, for the excavations to carry a more balanced fee based on real costs. The Trustees would be quite within their rights to do so.

Of course I don't like having to charge anything at all, and the Vindolanda Trust is extremely sensitive to peoples needs and its own core requirement of promoting access to archaeology. But we have to be sensible about all of these, leave emotion behind for a minute. You all know the philosophy of the place, it will not change when and if we get the chance to run extras for the excavators. In fact, you will be hard pressed to find anything comparable that is not completely state subsidized or something similar. Of that I can reassure you all.

The Vindolanda Trust looked at what was the main cost of excavating and decided to help as many as possible with the building of the study centre. As a result the new study centre will be on-line by the start of next season, and 10 lucky people a week can stay there, in real comfort. I can firmly state now that the deal that will be on offer with this building is an extremely generous one. Also, added to that, there will be 2 subsidised places per week. Effectively half priced. Full details of these offers and how to apply (who can apply) will be available at launch for the 1st of November.

I will also start a new thread on the wedig site in couple of weeks time with more details for next season as a prelude to how things are developing.

Also as an excavation aside - your memberships to the Friends of Vindolanda has been given a huge boost by what you will be able to see next year as well.

2 new museums with state of the art displays, writing tablets home.....
new site interpretation
A full 3D film to replace the Eagles Eye film at RAM
The Archaeo study centre

There will also be some special Vindolanda excavation volunteer improvements and benefits which are to be announced as well.

What an incredible offer you have already, if I don't say so myself :)


best,

Andy

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Fiona D
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It all sounds really exciting - can't wait for launch and for next year. As a new digger this year I can confirm that the welcoming atmosphere at Vindolanda, yet professional organisation comes across loud and clear. I think we get a great deal, and will be really keen if some extras can be offered, but don't mind paying for them.
Fiona
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Sue Munro
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It all sounds very exciting, can't wait to hear more!

Just a thought - at present we get a discount in the cafe and shop. I personally wouldn't mind not having this facility if it puts a few more coppers in the coffers for the Trust. What does anyone else think?
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Amandap
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How come the survey is to be found under 'Lighter fare' and 'The Pub'?- Good job the pub caught my eye as I searched for the survey and ever interested in the gossip I looked in at the hostelry........

Oh I want to do them all! I wanted to start at the simple/basic stuff and as I learn more I would want to move on to more in depth subjects.

By the way....There are various venues currently showcasing 'The Illumination of Hadrian's Wall' lit earlier this year to kick start British Tourism Week.

AmandaP
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SacoHarry
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Amandap
Oct 11 2010, 03:34 PM
How come the survey is to be found under 'Lighter fare' and 'The Pub'?
A point not missed by Andy after I put the survey up! To be honest, the way I've ordered the forums leaves a lot to be desired. The news items at the top of the page can only be posted by administrators. And items like "Archaeology Discussion" at the bottom are far enough down that they're easily missed. One thing I want to work on this winter is forum flow. For now, the Pub seemed the best chance to get the post & poll seen!
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Andy
Dr Andrew Robin Birley
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Just a quick reminder.

The Poll and suggestions are going to be considered as ideas for the NEXT SMC, not this one. This is a long term discussion, not a short one. The next SMC, if given, would come into effect in 2013.

So all the wediggers that are emailing Justin and myself with worried expressions about change and the pace of change, please don't.

This is a consultation to guage interest and an attempt to do things in an orderly way, hence the poll. It can't be done in an orderly way if people keep bombarding us with emails :-), sort of defeats the purpose really.

cheers,

Andy
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Mike C
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I'm concerned by some of the negative response's to this wonderful opportunity & peoples misunderstandings of what may be offered, how it may be offered & when it may be offered.

Let's all vote, say our bit & stand back & let the trustees do there job.
They know what they're doing & they have the best interests of both the Vindolanda Trust & it's volunteers at heart & won't do anything unless they can do it 100%.
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