MBetz
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MBetz
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1:13 AM - Jan 10, 2007 #11

Has there been a date discovered for the camp further west that is bisected by the stanegate? That camp is on an east-west axis and on a slope with good views to the north, east, and southeast. Vindolanda is situated in a shallow plateau, defended by streams and stream valleys to the south, east and northeast. Views directly east and southeast are blocked by barcombe hill and views to the west are cut off by the rising of teh hill slope. I understand the fort may have been sited to protect the ford but is that becuase a road existed already and the future Roman road improved upon that road and shifted its course to run more northerly than a previous road once did? Could the original fort built on the plateau have faced east-west showing a line of march possibly? Only later it was shifted to a north-south axis as the fort was to be built for a smaller garrison?
There are many tumuli and monuments in the area. How much archaeology has been done in the past at possible indigenous sites? Are some fields still plowed or do most farmers have pasture for sheep and cattle? It would be a grand adventure to do a day of fieldwalking in areas near the tumuli and monuments (mare & foal come to mind). Who knows what may turn up.
Mateo
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Andy
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9:22 AM - Jan 10, 2007 #12

Hi Matt, lots and lots of question in this one. I'll do my best.

1. Date for the camp bisected by the stanegate? No, although it could easily be pre or post stanegate. Why? The main road could have gone right through the middle. Also worth considering is that this may be more than a camp, something a little more permanent. Until some excavation is timetabled for this area we simply will not know.

2. The road path. Well, the situation of Vindolanda is strange from a purely defensive perspective, mostly as Barcombe hill overlooks the site, as do the hills to the north and west, and let’s face it, there is a hill to the south which partially blocks the view of the Tyne valley below as well. However, from a logistical perspective, it is an excellent location. More important than the road (which never went directly though the fort, but always passed it to the north) is the fresh water supply, the mineral wealth of the surrounding hillsides, coal, iron, lead, and of course clay and lime stone. Added to this the land to expand which is to the west, and you have a pretty good location. To compensate for the military issues they place the signal towers on Barcombe Hill, which gives that extra view and links the fort into the frontier system. Logistically, most forts probably faced either east west (to their extramural areas and supply) or north to the main road. There is not much to suggest the presence of a road before the Romans arrived. Infact the debate recently has been 'did the early forts have a road at all?'

Tumuli – there are plenty of them, most have been holed by antiquarian excavators or farmers, and some are disputed in origin as either archaeological features or post glacial features. Iron age bods do not seem to want to bother with them in this area, so we are somewhat non the wiser.

Ploughing – not much in this area. Although last year I did notice ploughing going on at Great Chesters in the field to the south of the fort. This may be breaking the law, it would be if the land has been scheduled, as ploughing is generally forbidden on such land. But most land around here is pasture, no crops, so not much point in field walking, unless you want to kick over mole hills (which is always fun, and I have uncovered bits of pottery that way before).
HPIM2719.jpg
Last edited by Andy on 9:23 AM - Jan 10, 2007, edited 1 time in total.
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MBetz
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11:39 PM - Jan 10, 2007 #13

Is the camp or fort to the west of Vindolanda scheduled? That seems an intriguing bit of ground to research both physically and through historical documents. Who may have dug there, even trial stuff, or what may have been discovered by previous owners (in the medieval period). I'm sure many people have thought about attempting to date the earthworks.
Matt
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MBetz
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1:16 AM - Jan 11, 2007 #14

answered my own question: yes it is scheduled. But it has not been investigated other than to mark its earthworks. How hard is it to get permission to do a survey of the site with metal detecting and fieldwalking? I know, metal detecting has a bad rep. in many places but used as a tool of archaeology it can help to define areas of interest for further study. Obviously, geophysics would need to be done. The site is considered a camp because it shows no stone fortifications and no proper gatehouse structure? What if the military erected places like this for short term use: 6months to a year. A berm, ditch and wood palisade is all that would be needed. Photos show ridge and furrow agriculture occured at some point. I still wonder if any antiquarians ever heard stories of finds or discovered anything themselves.

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Andy
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9:29 AM - Jan 14, 2007 #15

Matt,

Your not allowed to use a metal detector on Scheduled land. Doing work needs an SMC and the landowners permission. Landowners don't like to give permission and to get an SMC you need 6months and a team of specialists lined up. Oh, and lots of cash, a museum to take the finds (should the landowner not want them, as everything belongs to the landowner) and a conservation lab............and a publication date...the list goes on and on....

But you are correct, these places could and in some cases probably were used for more than a one night B&B, however, short of someone dropping a couple of million pounds into the Vindolanda Trust bank account, we will probably neve know. Which is sad, but there it is.

Andy

P.S. nothing solid on the antiquarian front on this one, although things do turn up many miles from the site.
Last edited by Andy on 3:32 PM - Jan 14, 2007, edited 1 time in total.
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3:31 PM - Jan 14, 2007 #16

Matt,

You don't have a spare couple of million do you? Harry might offer something here, but I am not sure if I can afford the payments!

:rolleyes:

Andy
Last edited by Andy on 3:34 PM - Jan 14, 2007, edited 1 time in total.
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SacoHarry
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4:14 PM - Jan 14, 2007 #17

I'll check the till, or the jar of petty cash. I'm sure something could be arranged!

If only the Trust would take up my Adopt-a-Shoe proposition, you guys would be rolling in it!

Matt, you're coming up with some fantastic questions. Where are you finding about the tumuli, camps, etc.? Is it the Ordnance Survey maps online, Vindolanda reports, or something else fancy up your sleeve? I love those OS maps. I just realized that the cottage I stayed at this past summer ran very close to a Roman aqueduct system. Next time I'm over I'll spend an evening doing a little hunt for esoteric ruins.

- Harry
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MBetz
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1:01 AM - Jan 17, 2007 #18

Harry-
I love maps and have the OS OL 43 Explorer map. On it are plenty of earthworks like camps and tumuli, and weirdly named features like the "mare and foal". I have the "Roman Camps in England" book by RCHME and it is quite good for explaining the basic layout of camps. So few have been archaeologically tested. Seatsides, the camp west of Vindolanda on the stanegate, is one of those many that has not been excavated to my knowledge. It is unfortunate that metal detector testing is not allowed on scheduled sites. To me, detectors are another tool for understanding the make up of an area (hate the word "site", too many definitions by archaeologists for that word). The detectorists do not need to dig the "hit" but recording the type of metal, how far into the earth and location can be helpful in seeing any patterns that might explain what went on previously in the detectored area. GPS plotting of the detector hits along with the basic data seems very helpful, and no actual digging would have been done. Maybe for this next five year plan for the Hadrian's Wall heritage zone, more test excavation in selected camps can be done to help put the camps around Vindolanda in a context that would explain the development of the central location on the stanegate route.

Andy- What was your dissertation on for your Master's? Justin must be sweating a decision for his. I think he has to have one shortly. Justin, do you have one yet? I'm just finishing module one so I have some time.

Does the Vindolanda Trust purchase the Archaeologia Aeliana (sp?)? I can not access it from online and I know a great amount of reports have been published in that journal for Northumberland and Hadrian's Wall. That would be a great couple of days just sitting and reading all the back issues. I am such a goober!
Matt
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SacoHarry
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3:50 AM - Jan 17, 2007 #19

Rock on Senor Goober. Sounds like a brilliant publication. I just Googled it, and came across the Society of Antiquaries in of Newcastle-upon-Tyne Web site: http://www.newcastle-antiquaries.org.uk/. They have the TOCs for a couple of the latest volumes. Great stuff!

Interestingly, they also note that Bruce's old "Handbook to the Roman Wall" has actually been updated & revised again. It's now the 14th edition, published 2006, ISBN-13: 978-0-901082-65-7; ISBN-10: 0-901082-65-1. I think I'm definitely going to pick up a copy. It'd be interesting to see all that's changed since the 1960s.

You've got a great idea re using metal detectors more for geophys than excavation. Hard to see anyone having a problem with that! Then again, the vagaries of the Scheduled Monuments laws are beyond a Yank like me.

- Harry
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Andy
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8:49 AM - Jan 18, 2007 #20

Matt,

I skipped the MA and went right to the PhD.

Andy
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