Wow. The end of what sure, to my amateur eyes, looks like an incredible year!
As promised above, some of Terry & Pauline's pictures from the last couple days of the season follow. First, a little context. Again, the work has been out in the northwestern part of the vicus -- the 3rd Century civilian settlement outside the fort-proper. The dig site is west/southwest of the big bath house, and north across the vicus road from the Severan commander's house. Here's a picture of what I can tell of some of the features:
This last week seemed to focus heavily on the ditch, with good reason. It's very early -- Hadrianic at the latest, meaning early (to very early) 2nd Century, one of the very early wooden forts at Vindolanda. Like so much else on site, it contained anaerobic layers with well-preserved organics (such as the awesome shoe & wooden pulley that davidgoldwater posted here
). Here is an image of the ditch excavation in progress. The photo is taken from the NW corner of the plan above, looking south.
All the cobbling in the foreground -- does anyone know if that's related to this early ditch, or is it a cobbled yard from the later 3rd C?
Another shot of the action:
The next picture shows an overview of all of this western part of the vicus dig site. Again, taken from the north & looking south. The ditch is obvious, as is the massive & weird 3rd C wall on the left. Just in front of the wall on the right (west) is a 3rd C drain/waterway system, with an odd circular stone-lined catchbasin (?) at its northern end. Would love to know what this is all about.
At the SW corner of the vicus trench is an odd alignment of -enormous- and wonky boulders. No word yet on the date or purpose of this set of stones. Their height in the strata suggest that they're late, from the end of the 3rd C.
This view, from the SW corner of the plan looking NE, shows a "robber trench" that seems to be cutting at an angle through the later 3rd C wall, as well as everything else in its path. Is this trench Roman or Victorian?
At the east end of the vicus trench, diggers have uncovered a well preserved rectangular house/shop. The shot below is from the south, looking north. Its western wall still stands 4-5 courses high; its eastern side is less well preserved. Many flagstones still remain, suggesting a fairly well-finished building when it was new. The "apse" in the plan is in the southeast corner, and doesn't seem nearly as prominent now -- any word on whether it's "real" or just a funny set of tumbled rock?
Another picture of the northern half of the rectangular house/shop, taken from the east looking west. Many features evident in the soil, any word on what that all is?
And finally, as the year draws to a close, a last view down good old "Temple Avenue" within the fort itself. This is standing on the main east-west road within the fort, looking north, with the well-preserved 3rd C barracks on the left & right, and the two circular Severan "roundhouses" in the foreground.
What a year!!