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Justin Blake's official Vindolanda excavation Twitter feed

Unless otherwise noted, all plans below are unofficial interpretations only.
They are meant to help orient diggers & friends.
They are not designed to scale, nor to imply archaeological accuracy.

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Week 22; Aug 29 - Sep 2
Topic Started: Sep 1 2011, 02:39 PM (622 Views)
SacoHarry
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Fantastic pic, thanks for it! The end-of-the-year lag had set in pretty heavily, so it's great to see all the progress since mid-August. What a beautiful rampart.

EDIT: A few years ago, Robin started rethinking the age of that bath-house. At first they thought that it was 3rd C, built along with the vicus. But then he thought that it might be much older, Antonine/mid-late 2nd C. If this rampart really is shooting north (and therefore not cutting through the bath-house space), that seems to support the idea of the bath-house being older, and standing there at the time of that wall. Thoughts Andy?
Edited by SacoHarry, Sep 1 2011, 07:01 PM.
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SacoHarry
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After too much delay, following are a selection of Terry & Pauline's great pictures from Week 22. First, a little context. Here is the location of the dig out in the civilian settlement, the "vicus" (what I've labeled as "Site 7" on the weekly progression. As you can see, it's at the far west end of the main settlement, just west/southwest of the bath house:
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And here is a close-up of the features that have been uncovered:
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SacoHarry
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A few of Terry & Pauline's pictures:

Overview of the work area, hugging tight against the visitor path:
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The massive rampart wall, looking north from the south. Latest thoughts seem to be that it's a western defensive wall for the vicus. Not sure if there were ever found any other vicus defenses to south or north.
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The rampart wall again, now standing north & looking south. At its northern tip, where the wall peters out, there's a curious stone-lined feature. Definitely purpose-built. But what purpose?
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Closeup of the odd feature. Did it exist at the same time as the rampart?
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SacoHarry
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And a few more shots. First, a later shot of the rampart wall. Again, starting from the furthest south bit and looking north. You can also see other odd features. In the foreground, the odd & wobbly-looking line of stone running off at an angle under the baulk. Further in the distance a flagged area (floor? yard?) that spreads out west of the rampart (outside the wall?).
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This next shot is of the 3rd Century strip house/workshop on the eastern side of Site 7. This photo looks east, across the vicus and to the fort (the fort is that mass of stone that lay beyond the large lone tree). In the picture you can see the well-laid drain, with a few capping stones still in place. The vicus roadway is to its right (south), and the house/shop is very prominent to its left (north).
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Last shot, standing in front of the house/shop looking across it to the north. The eastern walls of the building are not so well-preserved as the western, though the floors are beautiful. And what on earth is that semi-circular "apse" doing there? Very curious.
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As always, very many thanks to Terry & Pauline for great photos. What a wealth they've been adding to WeDig all year long! If you'd like to see the remainder of the photo album, here is the link.
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SacoHarry
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It just seems very weird. It seems aligned with the Severan praetorium on the south side of the road. But (a) the other Severan walls were just clay mounds, and (b) the stonework seems pretty lousy compared to other Severan stuff. But yeah, I don't think I've heard of any other 3rd C vicus walls anywhere else. One big thick wall is kind of useless without neighbors.
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SacoHarry
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That works on so many levels!
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SacoHarry
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I can totally hear Robin in my head saying that.

OK, here's my thinking cap: it's the end of the 3rd C. Life is getting a bit dicey, with Britain being a breakaway territory & all that. Maybe at first the townspeople decided to build a wall for security. They got started, planted it right on top of older features (the circle thing and the flagstoned yard)... and then something happened and they abandoned it before it was finished. After all, it was only a few years later that the whole vicus was abandoned & everyone moved inside the fort.
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SacoHarry
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Good points both! I first thought like you did, part of an earlier project -- maybe the extension of the Antonine (late 2nd C) annex. They found a stone-fronted rampart & gate for the annex down south a bit in '09.

What made me think this wall is later is: (1) the stone looks to me like "cowboy-building" -- like the Gauls did in the 3rd C. Heavy, hardy, unpolished. And (2) that flagstone floor/yard butting up against it (or going under it??) to the west. It's hard to see that flagging being later than the chunky wall that's still there at a higher level.
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