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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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Session 3; 29th April - 10th May
Topic Started: Apr 28 2013, 09:37 AM (1,509 Views)
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Weather report for Sunday, 28 April

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Janus the two headed god for a day of sun and rain and wind. Forecast augeries are favorable.

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Mostly just playing around with ways to upload photos from a tablet based system....a new experience for me. Here is a snap from yesterday's brief recon of the site.

It is yet another example of the myriad ways that mudstone can try to deceive. I was sure at first glance that this was some sort of lead pipe.

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waiting for breakfast
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Lots of deturfing going on today, but Snowglobe and I were detailed to investigate an area apparently explored by antiquaries in the early 1800s. Their trench made its way up towards the Stone fort II wall near the East gate. There were a few finds, I guess the 1830's workmen and their supervisors were less interested in things like rampart contruction and late roman reuse. Right near the fort wall we found a series of wooden objects. Old, but certainly not Roman in a level where anaerobic preservation is not possible. Eventually Snowglobe removed one...

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No, not an implausibly intact ballista bolt. It seems to be a huge tent stake whittled from a sapling. It might have held up some kind of tarp.

In a probable 4th century wall is this worked stone. Not an altar it may have held painted plaster for decorative purposes.

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And finally the reappearance of a venerable Vindolanda artifact....

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Of course I meant the Boston Red Sox hat - seen for many seasons now - not its wearer the ever young Anthea!

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Edited by Badger, Apr 29 2013, 05:04 PM.
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Note: for those interested a slightly different take on the diggings, for my non archeology friends back home, usually appears daily at Detritus of Empire

Snowglobe and I are troweling through what should be the intervallum road. But it appears to have a flagged surface in places and a lot of dark, murky soil. One wonders just what the late Romans had squishing around their toesies!

A few finds popped up, nothing fab but stuff that amuses me at least.

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A (?) sheep jaw laying in the muck.

And another find from the rampart area...

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It amazes me how precise Samian ware construction really is, and how pristine it can look even from higher layers.

Various things turning up elsewhere on the site, more on the order of walls and flags, other than a bead and another arrow head not much for small finds.

Late in the day Brinno our Dutch colleague got into quite a batch of tile and amphora fragments. Incidentally he is paired with a chap named Richie whose Geordie accent is so dense that we have observed that there appears to have been a purposeful effort to team up the two diggers who really did not speak English!*

*disclaimer, Brinno speaks rather good English. We are hoping he teaches Richie some Dutch, it would be an upgrade.

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Edited by Badger, Apr 30 2013, 01:59 PM.
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Good weather today and steady progress in the upper layers of the site. A few small finds here and there, pot lids, a bit of bronze from a scabbard.

One remarkable thing about excavating at Vindolanda is the variety of people you meet. At the Twice Brewed this morning Pete and I had a conversation with an American oil field worker who came all the way over to see the wall and to visit a whiskey festival up in Scotland. He is, and almost certainly will ever remain, the only person I have even met from Deadhorse, Alaska.

But I topped that by about 9am. Walking up to the site I mentioned to one of the diggers that I was having difficulty placing her accent. Well, it turns out she is from a family that left China ahead of Mao, moved to India, then to Yemen where she was born. Later linguistic embellishments came from living in London and working for an American company with a large operation in my home state of Wisconsin. Oh, and she was educated by Italian nuns......

Snowglobe will post a few pictures by and by. Hopefully less disorienting than the blurred stop motion panorama of yesterday. I am feeling great, no aches and pains to speak of. But nobody is THAT flexible.

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Edited by Badger, May 1 2013, 11:49 AM.
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Our weather yesterday.....

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I don't have any pictures as good as Snowglobes!

A busy day on site Thursday. There was a nest of activity where the TV crew was working. I am told this is one of those "buy your dream house" programs. Vindolanda was featured as an enticing local attraction. I do hope the eager young couple did not cast eyes upon the Praetorium behind them and think "Oh my, quite the fixer upper".

Another focus of activity at the trench of a first time digger. Always, always the first time digger. Keep an eye on Justin's tweets in days ahead...

Forecast for today, alas.....

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(ducks and dwarves from a mosaic found in Turkey)

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Weather reports proved insufficiently optimistic....a full day of work. The only adverse environmental effects were some lusty renditions of Broadway show tunes rendered in a gargled Geordie accent!


"eeewwwwEEEWWWWkla-hewmma!"

There is general argreement that this garrulous fellow has a promising career on the West End.

Especially on the part of diggers who realize we are now working on the east side of the fort.

Pix by Snowglobe in due course...

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