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The 2011 Excavation Season; The 2011 Excavation Season
Topic Started: Oct 20 2010, 04:07 AM (2,512 Views)
Andy
Dr Andrew Robin Birley
[ *  * ]
The Applications For 2011 will open on the 1st of November at 12noon GMT on the www.vindolanda.com website.

The forms will be similar to those that are familiar with them from last year with only a few minor amendments which we hope will make them easier to use. There will also be information about the archaeological study centre and its booking on the application page.

Major changes are planned for the Vindolanda website this winter - a complete redesign. However, these changes will not come into effect until the spring and will therefor not effect the bookings for the excavations :-)
Edited by Andy, Oct 20 2010, 07:26 AM.
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Andy
Dr Andrew Robin Birley
[ *  * ]
Dear all,

Some 2011 info about the season before we get going.

1. There will be a 24 week season next year. This will provide for 600 one week places on the excavations - 50 more than last year.
2. The dates for 2011 season will be from the 4th of April to the 16th of September.
3. There will be no breaks in the excavations season, every week is available.
4. There will only be one team, and this team will be working inside the 3rd and 4th century stone forts. No area A or B this year, we are all in it together :-).
5. The maximum number of weeks that you can apply for will be limited to 6 weeks on the booking system.
6. The day will start at 9:30am and finish around 4:30pm. Lunch at noon (1 hour), tea break at 2:45pm.
7. All excavators will be met at the new Archaeological Study Centre each morning and led up to the excavations. There will be no access from the site gate due to health and safety changes and designated changes in use. I am flagging this up now as it is a big change from what people are used to. However, it is important because we need to go through a health and safety presentation with all new volunteers next year before they start, and this will take place in the study centre. There is no skipping this, and all excavators are required to attend this induction session before starting. However, you only have to do it once, so if you are coming for more than one week, you can skip this on your second week. This is also an opportunity to look around the brand new fabulous museum.
8. All excavators who are coming by car are asked to park at the EAST car park at Vindolanda (the one closest to the Study centre, but NOT the study centre car park, this is reserved for residents of the study centre). The excavation staff will be parking in the east car park as well.
9. There will be up to 10 places available in the study centre each week for those who wish to stay there in supreme comfort :-)

Edited by Andy, Oct 20 2010, 07:28 AM.
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Andy
Dr Andrew Robin Birley
[ *  * ]
Full info about the 2011 excavation season is now loaded onto the www.vindolanda.com website for information. This also includes details of the archaeological study centre.

Good luck to everyone on the 1st of November at 12noon.

all my best,



Andrew
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Andy
Dr Andrew Robin Birley
[ *  * ]
Places are offered on a strictly first come first served basis. Each application is logged to the second, it is then printed out, and placed in a pile. We then go through each application in order, first in first dealt with and so on.

I know that there are a lot of frustrated Veterans out there, I know more than most! :-) And of course, I wish we could take everyone. As it is, over 60% of those coming next year are Veterans. Some might argue that this is a bit unhealthy in a way, and diminishes opportunities for new people to become involved, to have the experience. I can understand that argument (and the alternative which from us is that it is easier having a team of veterans!), but I cannot influence the applications which are transparent, either way.

Whatever the stats are in percentage, they are there on a first come, first served basis. I actually have nothing to do with the allocation of places. The office processes the applications in order of them being received by the website and then when the excavations are full, I get a list telling me who has been accepted.

We actually have 50 more places available than last year, even though we are consolidating the teams. There are no season breaks, and the season length has been maintained, hence the extra places. We do get cancellations throughout the year, people for whatever reason drop out occasionally through ill health, work or other commitments. As such we will place any new places on the website as soon as we can so that people are aware of them.

This year took us by storm. We have never in the history of the Vindolanda Trust had such a wave of applications from the very moment the applications became live. Never. We have never been absolutely 100% fully booked after 3 days, never.

Therefore I can completely understand how people are frustrated that they did not get on this time round, we are (Justin and I) frustrated that some of you are not joining us as well, but I only have 25 places a week this year and can't expand beyond them due to the nature of the dig (going deep down needs greater supervision).

I hope that the veterans understand and be assured, we do not pick people out, they pick themselves.

all my best,


Andrew
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Andy
Dr Andrew Robin Birley
[ *  * ]
and by the by,

I fully take on board the comments that there could be more ways to get involved with the work of the VT in the future other than just excavation. I agree and as such am investigating this, but can't honestly offer anything firm at the moment as the museum is a shell, we have no power, and are sitting amongst empty boxes and crates with builders knocking down every old gallery space at a great pace. Even the toilets are disconnected and the power is about to follow by the middle of the week.

Let things shake out from the huge changes taking place and then I will actively work on this aspect for the Vindolanda volunteers.

Andrew
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Andy
Dr Andrew Robin Birley
[ *  * ]
email Fiona at fionawatson@vindolanda.com
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Andy
Dr Andrew Robin Birley
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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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Andy
Dr Andrew Robin Birley
[ *  * ]
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
Dr Andrew Robin Birley
[ *  * ]
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
Dr Andrew Robin Birley
[ *  * ]
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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