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Excavations

MBetz
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MBetz
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Joined: 11:10 AM - Nov 02, 2006

7:07 PM - May 12, 2007 #1

Hey everyone,

This year has been going hell bent from the start. Justin's Area B started a week after Andy in Area A but that hasn't slowed down the finds any. Andy had three great weeks of weather for the beginning in his trench and Justin had a couple of busy weeks to begin. Finds of a possible mauseleum that had already been robbed, possibly in antiquity, and numerous wooden posts along with a number of hard packed floor surfaces has kept Justin guessing as to what exactly is going on in Area B. A set of four posts, two being rather large like those found last year, have extended the possible pre-Hadrianic building to almost 50 meters runing east-west. Further smaller posts are most likely a part of the buildings that would go with the Hadrianic floors that seem to be more of the workshops excavated a few years back and now on display. No major stone architectural features have come to light but as Justin has been heard to say, "the season is still young". Most recently Justin's crews have been widening the search for more posts to see if the massive timber building has made a turn to the south or is a lone structure with no attached wings. Rain these past few days has slowed progress but the report is for brightening skies middle of next week. Hopefully the meteorologists aren't throwing out false hope!

Andy's crews in Area A have been working in two of the vicus buildings that are on the north side of the main road into the west gate of the extant fort. The buildings are nearest the fort walls and have not been excavated below their late Empire vicus floors. Work has progressed deepest in the building further upslope (west) and finds have included a couple of leather shoe soles, bits of leather, worked wood, and part of a wattle fence. The archaeology is just at the top of the fill to the Antonine era ditches and once the water level drops a few feet some great finds should be awaiting dicovery by us volunteers. Half of the road between the two buildings has been excavated to an older road surface. Finds were few and large rocks requiring the sledgehammer were many! The north half of the roadway still needs excavation and may be slated for this week as the rain has made it unlikely for any work to be done in the "pit". The building closest to the fort wall was gotten to with a vengeance this past week. The whole team worked in the building dropping it down in places to a well made flag stone floor surface. Kudos to Linda, a brand new volunteer, on finding teh beatiful piece of "gladiator" glass. So far that has been the find of the season. Hopefully more will turn up in th ecoming weeks and the whole glass pattern can be pieced together.

If you need more updates to satisfy your archaeological appetite you can read my blog at http://diggerjournal.blogspot.com. I update evry few days about all sorts of things going on at Vindolanda and around the area. Good luck to all of us that still have some dig time left and to those of you who are done for teh season thanks for lending a trowel and wheelbarrow. Enjoy the season all.
Matt
Last edited by MBetz on 7:09 PM - May 12, 2007, edited 1 time in total.
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SacoHarry
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Joined: 9:29 PM - Aug 22, 2006

5:01 PM - May 14, 2007 #2

What a great post! And how often over the years have I heard the phrase "...has kept Justin guessing as to what exactly is going on in Area B"? :D And this "gladiator glass" sounds more than a little bit intriguing.

- Harry
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Sue Munro
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Joined: 7:24 PM - Nov 07, 2006

7:40 PM - May 14, 2007 #3

Just had a look on your blog at the piece of glass - its beautiful! Makes my half a rusty cavalry sword fade into significance!
Congratulations Linda - I must try and dig next to you next season, you some to be lucky!
Sue :rolleyes:
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Duncan
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Duncan
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Joined: 7:59 PM - Nov 08, 2006

4:33 PM - May 16, 2007 #4

Day 2 of my first week in Area B, but rained off by lunchtime today. :( Working with some old friends and some newbies. Nothing of great note has turned up so far this week, though Justin keeps our spirits up that by telling us there is plenty of good archaelogy just one more spade length down......and of course there is always the talk to the schools. All together now..."Hello everbody welcome to Vindolanda. My names Justin....." (you know the rest)

Duncan
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Joined: 6:33 PM - Feb 18, 2007

2:32 PM - May 19, 2007 #5

Duncan


you left out the best bit



Plop .........splat



archaeology will never be the same again....


Chris
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MBetz
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MBetz
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Joined: 11:10 AM - Nov 02, 2006

4:15 PM - May 19, 2007 #6

Update deux-

Last week Andy's crew did not get into the other half of the road even though it was a bit rainy. Both crew's missed a half day of digging due to the weather and were entertained by a discussion led by Andy with slides. Days of university class lectures came to mind during andy's talk. His was much better than most of my professors though! I and three other on Andy's crew opened an area outside of the IV Gaul fort's northwest corner to try and find the Antonine stone fort one wall. We found part of a turf rampart but no stone wall. On Wednesday we were able to reach the present fort wall and dig just enough to see that the Antonine fort wall may have been used as the foundation for the later fort's north wall. Therefore, the Antonine fort looks to be on a smaller scale than the Gaul fort since the south wall of the Antonine stone fort turns within the later Gaul fort. Thursday we opened a new trench in the small building behind Bldg. 28 in the vicus settlement. There was a great amount of pottery and a stroongly burned section of floor that we were not able to excavate fully by the end of the day. Depending on the weather (which has been rainy and sunny these past two days off) I may be digging in the building again or, if it is dry, back in the wall trench to define the rampart and verify for sure the course of the Antonine stone fort wall. The rest of the crew continued to excavate in Bldg. 29 find all the usual debris from different floor levels.

Justin had a fairly large crew this past week and were able to get to grips in a number of places in Area B. New sections were opened to see if the wooden posts continue to the east and also just south of the well near the temple/tombs. More Hadrianic floors were excavated and a wall seems to be emerging from the section opened just south of the well. The area opened furthest east in Area B may have a road or cobbled yard surface and some building rubble. Next week should give better account for the area. The areas that were already opened when the week started stayed pretty waterlogged throughout the week so there is not much to report on those areas.

Matt
Last edited by MBetz on 7:14 PM - Feb 12, 2011, edited 2 times in total.
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Duncan
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Duncan
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Joined: 7:59 PM - Nov 08, 2006

4:32 PM - May 27, 2007 #7

Well, thats another dig over for me. Weather in week two was dry and largly sunny (burnt ears a testimony to that) though cool wind at times. Area B turned up some interesting finds and as always more questions than answers. I finished the week by finding a small wooden object in a delightfully smelly anaerobic ditch, a handle to something perhaps, and what Justin described as the best bit of worked wood to turn up in his area for 5 years.
Roll on 2008!!

Duncan
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MBetz
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MBetz
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Joined: 11:10 AM - Nov 02, 2006

5:37 PM - May 27, 2007 #8

Last Thursday, which is the end of a dig week for Area A, Andy and Beth found part of a writing tablet in Building 29 below the Severan floor. This is the first tablet found for the year. Now we just have to wait 6-8 weeks before anyone gets a chance to read the tablet fragment. And today it hailed during tea break. Is it really the end of May in Northumberland?
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Sue Munro
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Joined: 7:24 PM - Nov 07, 2006

8:02 PM - May 31, 2007 #9

Wow well done Andy and Beth - hope you can keep it at Vindolanda!!
See you at the Friends Eve in a few weeks.
Sue and Jo
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mkendall
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Joined: 10:08 PM - Oct 16, 2006

9:16 PM - Jun 06, 2007 #10

Yes it was so exciting to actually see a tablet being found and taken up out of the trench: a great end to a fantastic two weeks digging. No doub the rest of the season will have more surprises in store for those of you yet to get your hands mucky. I look forward to hearing all about it.
Marilyn
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