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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 16; 16 July - 20 July
Topic Started: Jul 15 2012, 07:11 PM (1,434 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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Gorgeous day erupted from the slightly dodgy looking start, the stream near the Hedley, which normally passes under the road behind Codley Gate Farm, was going over the road deep enough that I had to be careful going thru it, so we clearly had a lot more rain overnight. However, after baling out we had a full day's digging.

In the North Field we were greeted with a swimming pool, trench full to the brim (impressive, given that its about two meters deep) and more significant collapse of the baulk beside the Victorian drain. However, by about 11 it was fully pumped and hand baled. Alex cleared most of the collapse and rigged up a fresh extension of the drain that worked beautifully.

Lesley and Alberto did yeoman's work cleaning out and finishing up the larger side of the ditch, Trudi and I extended the ditch out further east, where it appears it might be changing direction, or just fusing with the "main" ditch; hopefully tomorrow will reveal which. Ronan and Jane pushed an easterly segment down closer to the ditch level, a nice piece of pottery with a barely clad gentleman on it was among the finds there. All signs continuing to point to this being an early period ditch system.

The day was also spiced up by the presence of a BBC film crew, who spent well over an hour interviewing Alex while he stood in the trench. Fortunately they were fine with us continuing to work!

Picture 1 showing the new Olympic pool trench when we got there in the morning, note how the black pipe now leads to nowhere and was pouring new water in at a good clip.

Picture 2 at the end of the day, new gray pipe in place and ditches extending and exposed further. The section I had cleaned so carefully yesterday to be re-exposed later.
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Edited by Justin-T, Jul 19 2012, 03:03 PM.
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NicC
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Well, my wonderful forecast this morning led to an uninterrupted days digging! Some people had to be shifted but mostly we stayed where we had been. Summer broke out for the morning and clouds in the arvo but no rain until after the buffet. An urn was found in 10. Apart from that I do not think that anything major was found - just ditches and stones - some of them related to each other which made me happy as I found them. But what they are I do not know. Oh, carefully excavated a lot of plastic so went from trowel to mattock!

3 pics attached: 1) trench #9 being extended towards the ice cream booth to cut down the walk time. 2) where my stones are (honest they are in there somewhere)
and 3) my friendly stones.
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Edited by NicC, Jul 19 2012, 01:40 PM.
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SacoHarry
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Loving the dual updates! Plastic in the ground... 1000 years from now that will be the determiner for late 20th/early 21st C levels. The "Plasticene."
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Justin-T
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Pictures added to today's update. And its raining again.
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NicC
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Stopped raining - too bright to look out of the window - or my eyes are too bleary. Expect we will resolved all outstanding questions re the Roman Empire by 'down tools' today!
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NicC
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As I mentioned to someone on MSN - red arms, white body! Full days digging achieved so that is 4 out of 5. Lots of things achieved. Some of the ditches by the water tank were confirmed Roman due to an intaglio (sp?) being found. And like London buses...another was found elsewhere. A piece of worked flint found in our area by my trench buddy (I think this is area 7/8 - but definitely just a couple of yards to the west of the water tank. Justin's tweet shows what is coming up in area 10. At end of day there was a lot more road surface uncovered (pix later) so it looks like I am cobble scraping duty again next week.

2 questions about the Roman Empire are left unanswered:
a) why was Vindolanda built so far from the Twicey and
b) why was it built so far from the excavators car park?

That's it for this week (but I will revisit with some pix later)

Saturday midday - pics added. Please note that a Wtaretank is a water tank in disguise.

Badger - I do not have the energy to walk! (or the fitness)
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Attachments: Wtaretank.jpg (330.71 KB)
Edited by NicC, Jul 21 2012, 06:52 AM.
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Badger
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Carry on Nic

My take on the distance from trench to Twicey by foot. Yes, in the morning you have to walk to the Hedley end of things...but you are walking off that ridiculous breakfast! And at the end of the day, when ale beckons, you can just head out the west gate and save a few hundred yards.

T.Wolter
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Justin-T
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Not much to add to Nic's post, glorious sunshine much of the day, no midges in the n field; glad to have managed to get four full days in this week.

There was some more rain last night, but it only filled the North Field trench about a quarter full this time, so we only needed a thirty minute pump & bale out. The ditch became more clearly defined across most of the trench, with the southerly "side" of it followed up to what must be close to ground level when it was dug originally.

Nice thick clay layer was evident under the stones of the later curly (Roman) drain. The mass of silt and gravel in the main ditch was again largely find free, some large pieces of cow rib and vertebrae (tempting to speculate we found much of the carcass of the same cow, the major pieces were all found in the same approximate location...) and a little pottery. Elsewhere in the trench the finds seemed to be broadly similar.

Plan for next week is to push into the easterly side of the trench, wish I was there to help! Four of the six of us will be back, to be joined by four new recruits.

The end of a very satisfying week. Thanks to Beth and Alex, Jane & Ronan, Lesley, Trudi and Alberto.

The group photo for the NF; wide shot of the trench at the end of the week; closeup crop showing the layer of gray clay packed beneath the drain and the base blue-gray clay of the ditch:
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Edited by Justin-T, Jul 21 2012, 02:57 AM.
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