Week 22

HelenG
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HelenG
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Joined: 12:53 PM - Jun 27, 2007

7:39 PM - Sep 01, 2011 #1

Not digging this year but we took a quick visit to Vindolanda on Bank Holiday Monday (29th August). I took this photo of the excavations in the Vicus. A huge stone-faced rampart with beautifully revetted stones has been found. Period may be Severan or Antonine - the experts haven't decided yet. It was expected that the rampart would curve eastwards through the bath-house, but it is heading in a most determined manner for the builders' shed. The whole team is working here at the moment because (a) the barracks area is filling with water as fast as it can be baled and (b) the vicus area is higher and drier and due to be excavated next year.
rampart.jpg
rampart.jpg
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SacoHarry
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Joined: 9:29 PM - Aug 22, 2006

11:58 PM - Sep 01, 2011 #2

Fantastic pic, thanks for it! The end-of-the-year lag had set in pretty heavily, so it's great to see all the progress since mid-August. What a beautiful rampart.

EDIT: A few years ago, Robin started rethinking the age of that bath-house. At first they thought that it was 3rd C, built along with the vicus. But then he thought that it might be much older, Antonine/mid-late 2nd C. If this rampart really is shooting north (and therefore not cutting through the bath-house space), that seems to support the idea of the bath-house being older, and standing there at the time of that wall. Thoughts Andy?
Last edited by SacoHarry on 12:01 AM - Sep 02, 2011, edited 2 times in total.
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Terry S
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Terry S
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Joined: 8:29 PM - Apr 11, 2009

6:28 PM - Sep 02, 2011 #3

Week 22 finished on a weather high - blue skies and dry. Generally a good week with little rain, though we did take an early-ish lunch today to avoid the precipitation. It cleared up nicely after 12.45.
Photos to follow. Principally the newly exposed period 5 wall with contemperaneous ditch. Hopefully, this wall will be completely uncovered by the M.A.s over the next two weeks. At the north end there is a gap in the stonework (robbed ?) alongside a peculiar circular feature. No decision on what it is yet. Further work nicely done, near the drain.
A group photo was taken.
Last edited by Terry S on 10:04 PM - Sep 02, 2011, edited 3 times in total.
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snowglobe
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Joined: 12:16 PM - May 06, 2010

8:06 AM - Sep 03, 2011 #4

Thanks for the updates, thought the legions had all gone home! Strange to think the original tablets were on birch wood now tablets are on apple! Steveus Jobus the new emperor.
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SacoHarry
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Joined: 9:29 PM - Aug 22, 2006

12:04 PM - Sep 08, 2011 #5

After too much delay, following are a selection of Terry & Pauline's great pictures from Week 22. First, a little context. Here is the location of the dig out in the civilian settlement, the "vicus" (what I've labeled as "Site 7" on the weekly progression. As you can see, it's at the far west end of the main settlement, just west/southwest of the bath house:


And here is a close-up of the features that have been uncovered:
Last edited by SacoHarry on 12:08 PM - Sep 08, 2011, edited 2 times in total.
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SacoHarry
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Joined: 9:29 PM - Aug 22, 2006

12:12 PM - Sep 08, 2011 #6

A few of Terry & Pauline's pictures:

Overview of the work area, hugging tight against the visitor path:


The massive rampart wall, looking north from the south. Latest thoughts seem to be that it's a western defensive wall for the vicus. Not sure if there were ever found any other vicus defenses to south or north.


The rampart wall again, now standing north & looking south. At its northern tip, where the wall peters out, there's a curious stone-lined feature. Definitely purpose-built. But what purpose?


Closeup of the odd feature. Did it exist at the same time as the rampart?
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SacoHarry
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Joined: 9:29 PM - Aug 22, 2006

12:18 PM - Sep 08, 2011 #7

And a few more shots. First, a later shot of the rampart wall. Again, starting from the furthest south bit and looking north. You can also see other odd features. In the foreground, the odd & wobbly-looking line of stone running off at an angle under the baulk. Further in the distance a flagged area (floor? yard?) that spreads out west of the rampart (outside the wall?).


This next shot is of the 3rd Century strip house/workshop on the eastern side of Site 7. This photo looks east, across the vicus and to the fort (the fort is that mass of stone that lay beyond the large lone tree). In the picture you can see the well-laid drain, with a few capping stones still in place. The vicus roadway is to its right (south), and the house/shop is very prominent to its left (north).


Last shot, standing in front of the house/shop looking across it to the north. The eastern walls of the building are not so well-preserved as the western, though the floors are beautiful. And what on earth is that semi-circular "apse" doing there? Very curious.


As always, very many thanks to Terry & Pauline for great photos. What a wealth they've been adding to WeDig all year long! If you'd like to see the remainder of the photo album, here is the link.
Last edited by SacoHarry on 12:20 PM - Sep 08, 2011, edited 2 times in total.
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Badger
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Badger
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Joined: 1:10 PM - May 12, 2008

3:01 PM - Sep 08, 2011 #8

A wall/rampart around the vicus? I do not recall anything similar in the vici I am familiar with.....are there others?

Actually, it looks as if this might be just a wall around the nice parts of town. There were other ramshackle shacks outside the walls. Was this an early "gated community"?

What the heck is going on?

T. Wolter
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SacoHarry
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Joined: 9:29 PM - Aug 22, 2006

5:07 PM - Sep 08, 2011 #9

It just seems very weird. It seems aligned with the Severan praetorium on the south side of the road. But (a) the other Severan walls were just clay mounds, and (b) the stonework seems pretty lousy compared to other Severan stuff. But yeah, I don't think I've heard of any other 3rd C vicus walls anywhere else. One big thick wall is kind of useless without neighbors.
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Badger
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Badger
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Joined: 1:10 PM - May 12, 2008

5:21 PM - Sep 08, 2011 #10

Ah, I have it. The prototype for the Maginot line.

Hey! No fair going around the sides!

T. Wolter
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