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Justin Blake's official Vindolanda excavation Twitter feed

Unless otherwise noted, all plans below are unofficial interpretations only.
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Area of Excavations 2011
Topic Started: Mar 24 2011, 09:09 AM (1,894 Views)
SacoHarry
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END OF WEEK 15
(July 11 - July 15)

After a brief intermission, the weekly updates are back. Week 15 (and Week 14) have focused on 3 main areas: the southern part of Temple Avenue, extending into the barracks, labeled Zone 4/5s(outh); the centurion's apartment in the barrack just west of Temple Avenue, labeled Zone 5n(orth); and an examination of the deep levels under the late fort's main north-south roadway, Zone 2.

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Many thanks to el kevano for great pics and a fab update of the past two weeks of digging. Work is progressing in three areas, down into the mid-2nd century layers, and probably even into the early 2nd Century. The southern portion of Temple Avenue (Zone 4/5s) has been taken well back into the 2nd century, with the smell of anaerobic layers, many stains of wooden beams, and a ton of still very confusing archaeology coming up. The area of the 3rd C centurion's apartment (Zone 5n) is also being taken down to the mid/early 2nd Century layers. It is also a jumble of periods & features. But it seems just possible that the northern intervallum roadway of the Period VI early-Antonine fort may be showing up. This fort would have been laid out in about the same dimensions as the visible 3rd/4th C fort, but was originally built of wood, probably in the AD 140s. Finding the northern road that butted up against the northern wall would help give really good evidence for the layout of that mysterious period.

Zone 2 has been chock-a-bloc as well. Just under the turf, this area was the 3rd/4th Century north-south road. Beneath that lay an Antonine (late 2nd C) period barrack. That barrack had its centurion's quarters at the southern end rather than the north as was done with the later 3rd C barrack. In the past two weeks, many layers of flooring from that centurion's quarters have come up, and the diggers have started getting below the late 2nd C on down into the mid-early 2nd C.

Justin's tweets describe posts and the stains in the ground of what would have been wooden sleeper beams for pre-Hadrianic forts, mostly likely periods III or IV. El kevano's pictures & update show all sorts of tantalizing pits, stains, walls, patches of rubble, Severan stonework, etc.

So at the end of Week 15 there are now no less than 7 (maybe more) different occupation periods exposed at various points of the current excavation. They date from the late 4th Century (Period IX) all the way back to the early 2nd (probably Period III). More power to anyone tasked with making sense of the jumble for the final report!
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SacoHarry
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END OF WEEK 16
(July 18 - July 22)

This week started with a deluge and much bailing of trenches, but ended with a new vicus trench and excellent early archaeology in some of the deeper trenches within the fort.

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The rains early in the week put a damper on some digging during Week 16. But it seems that the week ended with a bang. Katesf reports digging in the drains on the north side of the main east-west road inside the fort (I think this is the Zone 5s -- correct me if I'm wrong!). Cyan's team worked in Zone 5n, the old centurion's apartment of the 3rd C barrack. They revealed flagstones coming up under the Severan roundhouse that itself lay under the apartment. And just to the east of the roundhouse, they found burning, a ditch, and the beautiful cobbling of a north-south roadway. The level appears Antonine. But that would be strange, because in the Antonine era that was supposed to be another barrack. What's a road doing there, then?? (It wasn't clear, but it appeared that maybe digging had been called off in Zone 2 along the north-south road, so I removed that from the active sites. Can someone confirm?)

The season has progressed so quickly, that a new trench has been opened, #7, out in the vicus to the west of the fort (and sadly far off the carefully cultivated map!). Over the years, most of the 3rd Century vicus west of the fort has been excavated, but this season at least one of the missing sections is getting checked out. So far the turf has been pulled back, revealing some of the roadside aqueduct that brought fresh water to the town from the wells & springs at the far NW of the site. In addition, the large foundation stones of one of the vicus's typical strip houses also seemed to be coming up.
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SacoHarry
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END OF WEEK 18
(Aug 1 - Aug 5)

A wet & truncated week, with activity mostly in Site #2 (the 2nd Century levels below the 3rd-4th C north-south road) and Site #5n (the 2nd C levels below the 3rd C centurion's quarters at the NW corner of Temple Avenue).
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Week 18 saw downpours on Tuesday and Thursday, and a sick Justin for some other bits of the week. Nonetheless, crews worked hard when & as possible on a scaled-down site. It seems that one base of activity was the deep, gloopy levels under the old centurion's quarters at the NW end of Temple Avenue. Justin has confirmed that the ditch running east-west through that trench is in fact one of the early fort ditches. For reference, take a quick look at Period II and Period IV. These two early wooden Vindolandas were laid out at a different angle to the visible stone fort. Their northern walls ran through the middle of the later fort, but up to now their exact location was iffy. Finding this large, well-preserved ditch has been a real prize this year!

Many thanks to Sue Monro for coming back from a bad burn to dig Week 18 and put up some great photos & story. Sue reports her team working across the mid-early 2nd Century layers in Site 2, uncovering a ton of slag -- more evidence of more metalworking. Sometimes it seems that everybody's back room at Vindolanda was a workshop. Self-sufficiency ruled the day.

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SacoHarry
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END OF WEEK 19
(Aug 8 - Aug 12)

A very wet & truncated week! Yet a few dry patches in-between showers, as diggers worked on late 3rd C buildings in the vicus and chased the early 2nd C fort ditch within the main fort.

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Thanks to TerryS, PaulineM, and MickArchaeology for great updates this week, despite the weather. The early 2nd Century northern fort ditch, found under the 3rd C centurion's apartment (area 5n), is coming up well. It is in great condition, with discarded wicker fencing, laminate flooring, and other organics coming out of it. The turf blocks making up the north rampart wall behind the ditch were also found. (Still not sure if this is Period III or Period IV fort wall. Maybe the same wall/ditch was reused from Period III to IV in this area?) As parts of the site were slowly being backfilled, crews were set to work chasing the early ditch to the east, back in area 1. Unsure how close the crews in area 1 are to the ditch level.

Out in the vicus, west of the bath house, crews found more of the stone-capped water channel running along the main vicus road. Behind the channel, the remains of a rectangular (?) vicus building have shown up, as well as an enigmatic wall. The rectangular building appears well-laid. The wall is quite rough. More answers lead to more questions, as always!

All in all, a wet & frustrating week, but also trenches that are now down onto some remarkable material.
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Badger
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I don't suppose the map could be updated with faint dotted blue lines to show the appearing and disappearing bodies of water on site....

T.Wolter
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