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The 2011 Excavation Season; The 2011 Excavation Season
Topic Started: Oct 20 2010, 04:07 AM (2,587 Views)
NicC
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Andy,

Thanks for that - just got to work out the dates that are not possible for me - wedding (not mine :o ) mid-season with travel complications!
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NicC
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Someone was so aghast that I could not get a week this year that they pm'd me and suggested that someone with more than 3 weeks booked should give up a week. Nice, kind thought but it will not happen and I wouldn't want it that way.

However, perhaps from next year there could be a limit on the number of weeks that can be booked per person e.g. 2 or 3. This would free up a slot or two and if there are vacancies left after a week or two, perhaps they could be offered out to the 'old hands'. One down-side to this may be the lack of old hands to pair up with newbies to the extent that the archaeologists would like. Also, the admin of such a limit. Just a thought.
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NicC
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Yippeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A vacancy came up and I have applied - I think successfully!
Sorry Andy, for 1 week your life will be a misery B) Ha ha. Looking forward to learning some new skills - in particular the surveying.
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Badger
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NicC

Excellent.

I made my flight reservations yesterday, which warmed my perception of mid winter weather by a good 0.5 degrees.

Tim Wolter
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Badger
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It has been very quiet on WeDig of late, our UK members have the excuse of being snowed in!

But the annual report came in the mail yesterday, and it has me warming up a bit.

Since the main research question of the current round of excavations is the relationship 'twixt vicus and fort, I found the bronze griffon a paticularly compelling find. There had been some speculation that it was identical to the ornament in the recently sold Cumbria helmet, and it indeed looks like a dead ringer.

So somebody in the vicus had at least the "hood ornament" of a military parade cavalry helmet.

At one point Justin was trying to persuade us that the vast expanse of cobbles in the vicus was a parade ground, but it would hardly be big enough for cavalry maneuvers.

Tim Wolter
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SacoHarry
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Needing long, preferably flat expanses, I'm wondering if the old parade ground would be further west, back up the Stanegate? Do parade grounds usually appear very close to forts themselves? Or are they placed off in their own special zone -- perhaps an area where the pomp & grandeur of Roman maneuvers could cow any nosy Brittunculi?

I've been off this winter on my own side endeavors (studying marine pollution -- the plastic junk that washes more & more on all our beaches, even the remotest islands: The Flotsam Diaries). But I'm slowly trying to wrap my head back around things Roman.

Sadly, there's not enough material from WeDig's '10 series to compile anything useful as a year-end wrapup. Anybody who got the Friends letter will have the best write-up anyway. With luck, Andy and/or Justin might be persuaded to give us WeDig'ers the two-penny version here if time & energy allow! No pressure. :D

I'm still working ideas for revamping the Digger's Guide so it's more comprehensive -- and so everything's all together in one easy-to-find spot. And I'm also trying to think up ways to keep visitors more informed about the state of the dig throughout the year. Google Earth is rumored to be taking more satellite snapshots this year. The current one dates all the way back to 2002, which makes it less than useful for showing the site today! If they come through, I'll be able to overlay current dig information with a fairly up-to-date birds-eye view. We'll see if it comes together.

Anyway, excited for '11. It's been far too long since I've had trowel in soil!

- Harry
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Sue Munro
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May I just express my compliments on the excellent concise Friends Report I received last week.

I was especially excited by the 'then and now' images - inordinately so perhaps, there were even shadows!!!

More seriously it helps put things into perspective about just how organised the Romans were when out on miltary campaigns.

For those people able to view Channel 4 in the UK there is a documentary currently showing on Thursday evenings at 9 following a group of 6 builders building a Roman villa using only Roman tools or equivalent at Wroxeter in Shropshire. Once you have stopped shouting at the archaeologist who is running it all and excaliming in disgust that there would have been far more than 6 people involved it is quite informative.

Enjoy!

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Badger
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One hopes for a more detailed wrap up of the 2010 excavations, but the demands of the upcoming season look daunting to our professional colleagues. And I agree, the available information probably precludes a "home-brew" version from WeDig posts.

It just seemed like a season where all the various jumbled layers of occupation peeked out as us randomly on both A and B sites. Much harder to sum up than say, the graneries of two seasons back.

Might we at least hope for the coroner's report on the suspected ancient homicide victim?

T.Wolter
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Andy
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The murder victim?

Nope :-) as I have not had it yet and anyway, it is tied up to a major National Geographic program which is being filmed at the moment. This show is doing the full DNA, lead isotope and oxygen analysis and I won't comment before I get the results of this work. It would be pointless to do so...

As you can all appreciate, we are running flat out trying to get a multi-million pound project opened up by the 12th of March. Two museums, a study centre, the new site and west gate exhibitions.......etc. So I am afraid that the suspense will have to continue for the moment. However, those of you who are members of the Newcastle Society of Antiquaries will note that a report on the 2009 Temple to Jupiter Dolichenus is held within the latest volume. We are publishing the results of the excavations as and when we can.....and will continue to do so. No major publications are slated until after the completion of the work, as is right and proper :-)

However, the Vindolanda Trust is re-launching its website in a few months time (new website really) and it will be packed with lots of excellent new features and information so watch this space. Hopefully it will provide answers to most of the questions raised.

All the very best,

Andrew
Edited by Andy, Jan 28 2011, 03:00 PM.
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Badger
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It is officially 1 February, so I can start my delusions of early spring. (It helps that I work in the Emergency Room, so I can recognize such milestones in real time, but have no windows to reveal the ugly truth out there).

Exactly 12 weeks until I lift off for Vindolanda, and if my math is correct, nine weeks until the first trowelful is moved on site.

Will you have it thawed by then?

Tim Wolter
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BeverlyJ
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March is nearly here and that means spring is coming! Which means it is getting closer to the digging season. :D

And I just want to say that we purchased our airline tickets last night before the oil prices go any higher. Life is good!
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Andy
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Excavation weekly diary.

All of those who signed up to the excavations this year will have noticed that we have a more structured programme on the excavations this time round.

Here it is once more for all of you who signed up but didn't read the small print!

Daily Diary


Monday
9:30am - all excavators meet at the archaeological study centre
9:30am - 12noon - all excavators on their first day of their 2011 experience to undergo induction and a Museum and site tour. If this is your consecutive week or you have been before during 2011 season then Dr Birley will lead you up to the excavations from the study centre to make a start.
12noon-1pm - Lunch
1pm- 2:45pm - Excavation*
2:45 - 3:10pm - Tea Break
3:10-4:30pm - Excavation*

Tuesday and Wednesday
9:30am- meet at the archaeological study centre, once the group is assembled they will be taken to join the excavation.
9:45-12noon - Excavation*
12noon-1pm - Lunch
1-2:45pm - Excavation*
2:45-3:10pm - Tea Break
3:10-4:30pm - Excavation*

Thursday
9:30am - meet at the archaeological study centre, once the group is assembled they will be taken to join the excavation.
9:45-12noon - Excavation*
12noon-1pm - Lunch
1-2:45pm - Excavation*
2:45-3:10pm - Tea Break
3:10-4:30pm - An excursion for all of those excavating for their first week in 2011 (irrespective of previous excavation experience at the site). For those that have taken part in this excursion before during 2011, an opportunity to continue on the excavations.
7 -9pm - A buffet supper for all of the Vindolanda excavators in the Archaeological study Centre.

Friday 9:30am- meet at the archaeological study centre, once the group is assembled they will be taken to join the excavation.
9:45-12noon - Excavation*
12noon-1pm - Lunch
1-2:45pm - Excavation*
2:45-3:10pm - Tea Break
3:10-4:30pm - Excavation*
4:30pm - An official group photograph of the week's team and summing up talk on the weeks work by the Director of Excavations.

*Excavation sessions are a mixture of either physical excavation or archaeological related activities such as pottery washing, surveying, site illustration etc. All excavators are expected to take part in as many of the above activities as possible.

Wet Weather Programme


In the course of the excavation season we can lose the occasional day to the elements. Excavation will take place unless the archaeologists deem the weather conditions to be either detrimental to health or a danger to the archaeology of the site and the excavation methods deployed in its recovery. If excavation cannot take place, post excavation work such as washing and marking pottery, illustration, history walks and appropriate lectures will take place. If the weather continues to cause problems then all archaeological work will be halted until such a time as it may safely resume and the volunteers will be asked to return when the rain stops. All volunteers must accept the possibility that they may lose a day of excavating to the elements.
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Andy
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Also, take note all you early risers,

The excavators will meet daily at the study centre at 9:30am to come up tot he excavations as a group. No 8am starts, no 9am starts and the site gate will be locked! So everyone is to meet at the study centre at 9:30am.

Also, excavators are advised to park in the east park, the same place that the staff will be parking :-). It is the closest to the study centre. If you are staying in the centre then of course you can park in your bespoke car park behind the centre. This car park is key carded and only those staying in the centre (one of the many perks) have access to this car park. There is NO parking down the museum drive.

cheers,

Andy
Edited by Andy, Mar 16 2011, 05:04 AM.
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Andy
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Exciting news,

The excavation shed hot water boiler is being replaced and upgraded from a 6litre to 8litre boiler. It is hoped that this development will allow for the perfect cup of tea during the excavation tea break.

:-)

Andy
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Sue Munro
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Thanks for the updates, Andy. I'm getting really excited now - roll on May! :)
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