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Vindolanda Excavation Expansion; What would -you- like to see?
Topic Started: Oct 2 2010, 07:54 PM (4,345 Views)
Mike McGuire
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NOTE – This post contains a genuinely free offer but, as always, please read it carefully to be sure you understand the terms of the offer!

As Andy points out, this discussion thread is about the long term. And people have contributed lots of ideas which I’m sure the Trust will consider carefully when they work out how the Volunteer Experience will be organised from 2013 onwards. But it did occur to me that, while they’re doing that, we might do something of a trial run – a ‘pilot scheme’ - to help work out what can be done and to show our enthusiasm for these ideas in a practical way.

Such a pilot would need to meet a number of conditions.
* It should be cost-free both to the Trust and the participants.
* It should not involve the Trust in any administrative effort.
* It should not interfere with volunteers’ excavation time.
* It should add to the volunteer experience by being both informative and enjoyable.
I‘ve discussed an idea for such a pilot with Andy and he has kindly agreed that I should put it forward, so here goes.

The idea of a walk on Barcombe Hill got some votes in the poll but was not a top-three item, partly I suspect because it would have to take place after the end of digging, or in an evening, and people aren’t keen to put in a lot of extra effort after a hard day. What people may not realise is that, with some imaginative shuffling of two or more vehicles, it’s possible for a group to walk the full length of the hill (less than 2 miles) almost entirely downhill or on the level. And in such a walk there is a great deal to see of archaeological interest, from Iron Age to industrial as well as the Roman quarries and an unparalleled view of Vindolanda in its context as part of the Wall system – one of the world’s great archaeological vistas. I’ve spent a lot of time up there this year and it has been both a pleasure and a privilege.

So my offer is to lead such a walk, lasting one to two hours after the end of play or in an evening, in either or both of the weeks beginning 9/5/11 and 16/5/11. Sorry I can’t offer more choice of weeks but those are the only ones Malise and I definitely plan to be on site next year. There are bound to be enough car drivers in the group to get us to and from the start and finish points and I’m sure we can arrange a lift back to home or lodgings for any car-less people.

If you’re interested in such a walk and are fortunate enough to be flexible in your choice of dates, why not book for one of these two weeks? I'm sure you will enjoy it and, if we make it a success, we can show Andy and his colleagues that it’s worth their while putting in the effort to arrange a much fuller programme for us in future years.
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NicC
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Just to add to my previous post - I will still like to to some of the proposed activities even at a higher charge. I may be able to afford it with dosh to spare as I may be cutting back to only 2 weeks excavation next year.
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Badger
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Mike
I have always looked up at Barcome and wished I had an excuse to walk it. Not sure which weeks I will be on site, but if we overlap count me in.

Andy
I think people can be forgiven for thinking some of the proposed changes might impact 2011. After all, the switch to a M-Fri. schedule and the apparent concentration on Site A are on for the year ahead, no?
I think concerns are mostly just a measure of the irrational affection we have for the place.
And regards cost issues, for those of us coming from overseas the airfare is the major expense. If Vindo has need to charge us a bit more that is not a problem.
Tim Wolter
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SacoHarry
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Mike, that is a brilliant and wonderful offer! My 2011 schedule hasn't gelled yet, but a mid-May visit is actually feasible. And the opportunity for a walk like that helps sweeten the pot noticeably.
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KarenL
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And if you walk all the way down to Bardon Mill, the pub there has some pretty good food. And beer, of course. :)
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Mike C
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Sounds great to me Mike. I've been up the hill & you're right there's some great archaeology & some wonderful views up there.
I was planning to do it again this year but ran out of time.
Will definitely be doing it next year but don't know if it would be with you, I don't know my dates yet.
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Sue Munro
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In my first visit to Vindolanda as a volunteer rather than a tourist we were lucky enough to be taken on the walk by Andy and Justin when rain stopped play. Despite recovering from a rather bdaly strained knee I found the walk fairly doable and really interesting, putting the history of the area as a whole into context and giving a fantastic view of the Vindolanda site.

Andy - thanks for clarifying the situation regarding when changes will come into effect.
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Fiona D
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Great offer Mike - If I can get in for one of those weeks I would definitely be interested.
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georgina
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Mike, brilliant idea to do some dummy runs re expansion ideas. Providing my application is accepted shall be there for 2 weeks from 16/05/11 or 23/05/11 so will confirm when known. Planned to do the walk anyway with another friend from Vindo. Will be up for any informal learning that is available. As I come from the Antipodes :P a little extra costs don't matter in the wider view to me. Re after a days work for extras, come on people, life's short! get stuck in!
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Andy
Dr Andrew Robin Birley
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Hello everyone,

Important notice: You may see on 'WE Dig' that individual excavators have decided to offer volunteers extra activities over and above what the Trust itself is organising. Please note that these will not take place during the normal hours of excavation and are entirely at each individual's discretion so it's up to you whether you participate or not. Please remember that any such activities are not officially associated with the Trust and are not therefore covered by any of our health/safety or other polices. This is an important point for the organisers to consider. If you are leading a large group you may need to consider your own health and safety requirements.

We are now gearing up to the launch of the 2011 excavation places on our official web site on November 1st 2010 and we hope to see many of you at Vindolanda for what we are sure will be an exciting period of digging next year.

All the very best,

Andrew
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Hadriana
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I am a complete and utter newbie as I haven't excavated yet but will for a week in 2011 (all things being well). Can't wait!

I have a thought. (Like Stephen Fry "I'm taking a thought for a walk")......I'm not suggesting that a three tier system be operated but perhaps, in fact, there are different types of digger or non-digger (people who may/may not have excavated/not currently excavating)"audience".

There will be diggers who come from afar who will want to make the most of their time here and rightly so. In which case a certain type of digger package can be tailored to suit them.

There is also a UK (possibly European) digger who can be around (potentially) all year for different types of activities with an associated charging structure.

There is also a very local digger, on Vindolanda's own doorstep, who would like to become involved in a variety of ways. How this is handled chargingwise - would/could be carefully thought through.

I hope I am expressing myself well enough here. My belief is that there is a great hunger for knowledge out there. The worldwide media have an obsession with dumbing everything down but when they, the media, do run "in depth" series on history/excavation etc. people (of all backgrounds, knowledge levels etc.) cannot get enough of it. Thank goodness!
Edited by Hadriana, Nov 6 2010, 01:29 PM.
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Cariyo
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Feeling depressed as I've just come back from a holiday abroad to find all the excavations full :o

Will miss my Vindolanda fix - damn the BBC for making it too popular !! :-/
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Mike C
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What happened to the Roll Call section. I was enjoying checking who I was going to dig with next year?
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Mike C
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Whooops, I've just found it again! :$
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Erin
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Sue Munro
Oct 11 2010, 09:56 AM
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?
Sue has an excellent point I think - how many of us come to Vindolanda to spend time in the shop? I certainly don't. It's an almost painless way to shave off a few pennies for the Trust.

Also the idea of the walk was number four on my list. The only reason it didn't make the cut was because of time restraints and yes, the expected happy but weary body at the end of the day. Coming from overseas as I do, I want to completely immerse myself in the whole dig (it's very therapeutic, incidentally). However I also find that being able to see some of the area that I'm digging is is quite important too. Not always easy when you're not in the thick of things at the Twicey.

Could any lectures or extra training be done during the times it is too wet to work? Maybe as a stand by, for the days when it WILL rain, as it so inconvieniently does. Those of us who aren't local find ourselves at a bit of a loss when we expect to be scaping up dirt. Walks can still be done in the rain if it isn't bucketing down and any preservation lectures or classes could be conducted inside. Is it a possibility perhaps?
Edited by Erin, Apr 22 2011, 04:02 AM.
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