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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 7 reports; 14 May - 18 May
Topic Started: May 13 2012, 03:15 AM (1,388 Views)
Badger
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Being six hours ahead I shall beat Harry to the new topic start!

Reports and photos welcome.

T.Wolter
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Somewhat lengthy post and pix tonight, I want to help Harry catch up. Activity on site has shifted a bit. That north south road has been left alone today and there are four areas of primary activity.

The first is North of the water channel and just to the west of the trenches being actively worked last week. So, to the east of 4a and adjacent to the water channel. Preferring words to numbers I call this "Colonial Corner" as it is being worked by Scott from LA and his posse of Canadian students:
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Chief feature here is an odd bit of solid stonework. Could it be another wall in the wrong place? No doubt the crew was put to work to try and define a western ditch edge, but archeology is getting in the way as it so often does...
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Moving to the south......
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Welcome to Sunny Valley.
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This is on the south side of the water channel, to the west of Harry's area 4b.
It has been a little frustrating, few finds of late other than the amphora seal from last week.

Main feature is right on the south edge of the channel:
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Here you are looking at a rare sight at Vindo, natural clay. Cut into it are various beam slots from who knows what eras. Note the rounded ones....rather...British looking?
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I call this area Anaerobe Gulch. It abuts the west edge of the North South road that Harry designates as 4b and 4c, and is sort of between these two areas.
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This area has intact wooden posts, and yielded some leather and barrel staves last week. So far this week, quiet.
Chief feature:
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Black Mud.
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Andrew has promised ice cream for the first trench that reaches the relevant shop near the West Gate entrance. I have been working on a couple of contenders Friday and today. We are searching for the source of the water that fed the channel (tank, spring, well?) So I call this area Headwaters:
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You can see the orientation with regards to the excavators shanty. In a north south direction it is roughly in line with the water channel.
A few interesting developments. Although quite soupy on Friday the trench to the east that we deturfed on Friday has a very nice metalled roadway (mentioned by Justin) and a possible Antonine/Severan round house peeking through. Of course a few stones in a rough curve can easily be over read, stay tuned.
The further west trench is still early days, one corroded coin and a bit of cross hatched floor tile.
Chief feature:
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Wet, heavy turf and plenty of it.


Nice digging today, colder tomorrow. Typical Vindo weather with occasional showers, but forecasts less dire than last week.

T.Wolter
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Weather is holding up nicely.

Slow day on site for finds. A couple of beads, a hunk of lead. Another nice tile with a perfect dog paw print.
The only major feature development is an unwelcome one....our Far West trench is about 40% back fill from a 1930s pit that was unrecorded. Probably an earlier attempt to define the course of the water channel.
A lesson in careful recording, paid for by yours truely and my trenchmates.
Better stuff tomorrow, for sure!

T.Wolter
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Oh, a couple of pix for the armchair diggers....

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This is the pesky bird that shows up every day at lunch time to bother the diggers for crumbs. CHIRP! CHIRP!

Last week I posted a picture of a bit of brick/tile that had a possible animal print on it. Well, courtesy of one of our Canadian students....

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A no doubt about it dog print!

T.Wolter
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I also post in a less serious format.* If you simply must see pix of the recently discovered un recorded trench, well, nip over to the Detritus of Empire blog via this link:

Trench Warfare

alas.

We shall see what can be salvaged.

T.Wolter

*some would say an "even less serious" format.
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On a day threatening rain you really do not want to see this on the window of a truck that seems to belong to one of the Trust staffers!
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It seems to advertise a life boat service.
But we got the day in anyway, although all were covered in mud by days end.

Here is the stepped trench over in Anaerobe Gulch. Surprisingly the finds have gotten scanty near the bottom. Doesn't most refuse sink?

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I found the wine amphora Justin mentions. Quite a few fragments, although I fear not the part where the label would usually be painted on. Here is the impressive part:
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Finally, arising from the deeps of a trench at the end of the day, the muddy skull of a pre-Hadrianic Roman cavalry horse!
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Harry
As I said, the skull came from an adjacent ditch. In this case to the south of the aqueduct, in sort of the western range of what I call "Sunny Valley". There are cuts down to virgin clay in this area as previously photographed. Pre-Had was Andy's comment.
TW
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I think we can just gloss over some of the usual update stuff. Weather-ick, but at least we got a full five days in this week. Trenches-water, water. Schedule for excavations continues to be challenged.

But, as you can tell from Justin's Twitter message......

May I introduce V2012T/1, the first writing tablet of the season. It is being gently cradled by Kate prior to making a quick trip to the conservation lab.
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A few notes. This is not a typical Vindolanda tablet, being thicker and more of the type known as stylus tablets. These are coated with wax which provides a re-usable writing surface. Sort of like an ancient Etch-a-Sketch for those of you familiar with such. The wax seldom survives in Vindolanda conditions.

In fact this is not even a typical stylus tablet, but is clearly of that kind of wood, with clean edges and polished surfaces.

After an hour or so the word came up from the lab....writing visible!

Of course, the tablet was found by a first time digger, Claire. She had also in the last couple of days unearthed a bronze belt buckle and a jet ring. Were she not such a delightful person it would be easy to look up from less productive trenches and glare daggers at her!

The tablet is the big news of the week, and little else demands report. Unless of course you would like to see a picture of Justin cutting the birthday cake for Kieren, one of our Canadian diggers. With a shovel.

Oh, you would like to see that? As a finale to my last Vindo site report for 2012, I am happy to oblige.

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Tim Wolter
aka Badger


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Brinno/Pierre

Although we have permission to post pictures and discuss things like this I think a little bit of ambiguity is called for. Sure, nobody could sneak onto the site in the dark and find a writing tablet. Not in a million years. But pointing out one spot might just tempt the foolish. Let us just say it was more than a shovel length away from where you were digging!

Sometimes archeology is funny. Jeff did yeoman's service in a deep trench for most of the week. Just a lot of anaerobic dirt with scattered finds. Claire, in a spot that did not look immediatly promising, found amazing things.

Badger/T.Wolter
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Claire
Click on the inbox at the upper right corner of the wedig page for instructions on how to get the full resolution version.
Enviously
:X (looks green with envy anyway)
T.Wolter
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