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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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They are not designed to scale, nor to imply archaeological accuracy.

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Week 16; 16 July - 20 July
Topic Started: Jul 15 2012, 07:11 PM (1,438 Views)
SacoHarry
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Here are the main trenches being worked for Week 16 as I understand them:
Posted Image
(wider shot available here)

May the sun continue to shine! Hope it's a great week in the trenches.
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Justin-T
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Remarkably, given the persistent rain around breakfast, we managed to get a full day in. Some sprinkles threatened to get heavy enough to close us down, but they eventually cleared up.

Beth and Alex are leading a group of six of us in the North Field, everyone else in the vicus. Plan is to keep it that way this week and probably next, weather permitting. We're trying to firm up what's happening with some ditches in the southern half of the trench. The stone ditches found earlier are all thought to be Victorian. Everything in the northern half is probably modern, no further work in that half likely this year. Spent the day getting very muddy, having to periodically bale out as water slowly leaked in. The ditch has a very clear gray clay base with gravel above, will get a picture tomorrow. Not very rich in finds, even pottery was rare, although a fair amount of animal bone turned up. A few other non-pottery finds, but nothing out of the ordinary for Vindolanda.

Not much i can say about the work in the vicus, Justin's tweet gives more info than I know, but at least one new trench opened (or possibly expanded?) nearer the temple, hope to get a picture tomorrow. Will try to pick the brains of the vicus diggers when I get the chance as the week goes on.

Overall a very productive day, and everyone very pleased to get a full day in. Fingers crossed for tomorrow.
Edited by Justin-T, Jul 17 2012, 02:31 PM.
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NicC
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Not much to add from the 'real world' - a full days aches and pains attained despite intermittent drizzle. Excitement with just 15 minutes to go but not a champagne moment. Being ill and dis-organised i forgot my cameras but hope to remember them tomorrow.

(And can someone tell the spell checker that in the real world organise is spelt with an S and not a zed and that 'spelt' is a real word!)
Edited by NicC, Jul 16 2012, 02:23 PM.
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NicC
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From the real world: a bright morning, cloudy afternoon, a few raindrops about 4pm-ish so no time lost. But... trenches brushed down for an expected downpour - hopefully tonight so that tomorrow we can see our different soil colours and get stuck in. A photo or two will be added after I have read instructions on how to put them up!

OK - edit - photos added (I hope) all taken at lunchtime while sitting under a tree having a snooze. Moving from East to South to West. Tomorrow I will try a different perspective. (Standing on my head, perhaps)
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Edited by NicC, Jul 17 2012, 12:38 PM.
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Justin-T
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Our weather luck held out another day, gorgeous sunshine until mid afternoon, then some cloud but no real rain. Rain hitting the Twicey windows now though and forecast for tomorrow questionable.

In the North Field we were fighting water seepage in my zone all day, for some reason much more so than yesterday. I ended the day pretty much covered in mud up to my waist, wellies essential! Got to the bluey-gray clay layer marking the base of the ditch across about half the trench. Same find pattern as yesterday, a little pottery, lots of cow bone/teeth. A few other finds but again nothing really dramatic. Big picture is that we have a very clear set of parallel ditches running more or less EW across the trench. Plan for tomorrow is to push the ditches across to the east side of the trench.

Picture 1 taken before we started work, with one clear ditch indicated by the yellow line, another ditch suspected just north of it (quickly proved true), a later drain curling down towards the ditch (capped at some later date, not clear when the drain dates from). red line is Victorian drain, everything in the trench north of that now thought to be natural (ie: non-Roman) features.

Picture 2 taken towards the end of the day today as Beth was taking her official pictures before the whole thing filled up with water again. Yellow lines indicate the side-by-side ditches, Beth is standing on a ridge of clay between the two major lines of it.

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Edited by Justin-T, Jul 17 2012, 02:29 PM.
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Justin-T
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Rain overnight, thick low cloud producing a steady fine mist drizzle, but radar suggests it might clear up in an hour or two...
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NicC
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9am and it is still sheets of rain passing by the Twicey. The only good point is that the wind is strong. But I checked a weather station 5km away - not hopeful ALL DAY :'( . Maybe I will be able to nip into Haltwhistle and get my laundry done!
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Justin-T
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Rain stopped and visibility improved, but morning called off, meeting at 12:30 to see if the trenches have dried out enough to get the rest of the day in. Radar still seems to suggest several hours without rain, so I'm holding out hope we won't lose the whole day. B)

(@Badger: you were right, my laptop is showing Justinian and the badger again, looks like my iPad needs a restart...)
Edited by Justin-T, Jul 18 2012, 03:53 AM.
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NicC
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12:30 meet and it is off to Barcombe Hill for leisurely archaeological stroll -except for those, like me, who cry off. Bright sunshine but heavy rain off and on. To tell you how bad the ground is I left the visitors entrance to head for the hut and went head over heels just stepping onto the grass. You cannot, safely, push a barrow in conditions like that. Better weather forecast for the rest of the week.
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Badger
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I do peek at the forecast out of Hexham now and then. It does not seem to correlate all that well with Vindo, but the weather did not look beyond salvage....

Justin-T glad you have recovered your identity. Is it Justinian or his father Justin, or some other dignified chap?

T.Wolter
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sarcanon
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Jul 18 2012, 09:42 AM
I do peek at the forecast out of Hexham now and then. It does not seem to correlate all that well with Vindo, but the weather did not look beyond salvage....
Badger:

Perhaps you're aware already, but there is a slightly closer weather station at Bardon Mill. Given Northumberland's micro-climates, I'm not sure this is a big improvement over Hexham, but perhaps...

- Scott
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Justin-T
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Badger
Jul 18 2012, 09:42 AM
Justin-T glad you have recovered your identity. Is it Justinian or his father Justin, or some other dignified chap?

T.Wolter
Good question, its Justinian. I had been (until today) under the impression that my name was derived from Justinian. Apparently I have the wrong chap, his uncle is my namesake. Will have to do some digging to find a replacement image. His nephew seems to have been a good deal more famous so it didn't take long to find the image I've been using. Dang.
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Justin-T
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Despite the fact that at 12:30 we were in bright sunshine the decision to call off for the day was not unexpected, and as NicC described, it cycled between sunshine and showers until about 4pm -- about 20 minutes of each at a time -- so it was the right call. Sounds better for Thursday & Friday.

I did partake of the Barcombe walk, and when it wasn't raining sideways in winds gusting to 30-40mph it was an enjoyable and interesting jaunt. One of the sunny spells coincided with our appearance at the top, so I got some nice shots of the classic fort view, Alex doing his thing, and the graffiti that Justin mentioned in his tweet (not for those of a nervous disposition). Oh, those naughty Romans.


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Badger
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Ah yes, Justin (or Iustin) was the uncle of Justinian. If you really need an image I have an interesting coin from Justin. It is appears to be one of the really small, thin gold coins (a tremissis I think) but is in fact a forgery with base metal peeking through. Nice image of Justin though...

Badger/T.Wolter

Sarcanon, thanks for the Bardon Mills tip. When we get around to tweaking WeDig in the off season we should add that as a button on the site. I hear we have a new admin who will crack the whip. The peasants groan....

T
Edited by Badger, Jul 18 2012, 06:14 PM.
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NicC
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08:10 - the blue sky which had been in evidence has nw disappeared and some rather nasty grey stuff has appeared. However, that appears to be intermittent as a little patch of blue has floated into the view afforded by my window in the Twicey. Looks ike it could be a stop/start day if we get started (lots of rain overnight). Breakfast calls.
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