Badger
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Joined: 1:10 PM - May 12, 2008

6:29 PM - May 11, 2011 #11

The overall emphasis of week six continues to be the north south road dubbed “Temple Street”. Ongoing excavations of either side are bringing up the usual small finds. And the road proper is being nibbled into as seen in the first photo.

Under this Caracallan road, at an apparent Severan level, is this odd structure plunked atop the Antonine road surface and extending under the later road.

Justin’s twitter remark is spot on….nobody has any notion as to what it might be.

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katesf
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katesf
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7:07 PM - May 11, 2011 #12

Just to say thank you guys for the great update. I am also excavating in this area this week. It is heavy going at times but we are all enjoying the week so much, despite showers halting things for a short while today. The mysterious feature looks like a flue, but a flue to a giant oven? Who knows? Only time will tell after the rest of it has been excavated.
Pot--washing this afternoon revealed a graffito on BB ware and another mortarium stamp!

Kate
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Badger
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7:42 PM - May 11, 2011 #13

Cheers Kate
As I have mentioned in previous posts, my blog for non archeologists is at http://detritusofempire.blogspot.com/ It does feature the smiling faces and finished efforts of potwashers today.

T.Wolter
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SacoHarry
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7:52 PM - May 11, 2011 #14

Good day up in the northern bit of "Temple Street." (Or what's left of it -- primo picture, Badger!) Our crew had mandatory pot-washing duty in the morning. Which coincided nicely with the AM rain shower! Our archaeology is behaving badly though, which is kind of fun. There -should- be a nice north-south Antonine (2nd C) drain with cobbled roadway on the east and cobbled barrack veranda/porch to the west. Instead, in the middle of our bit the drain is robbed out and replaced with an ever-growing section of flagstones. At the northern edge of the flags, just as they turn back into cobbles, there's a large area of burning. Really blackened, sooty bits. So what are the flags doing there? Maybe propping up a subsided bit? Maybe a floor surface and an oven? Probably none of the above. Hope to find more tomorrow.

Also, ended the day with a -great- guided walk up Barcombe Hill, led by WeDig's own Mike McGuire. Mike is a geologist working with Vindolanda to learn the source of the stonework used in the forts. And a great storyteller. Thx for the walk & talk Mike! If you've never gone up the hill, do it. The views can't be beat. And the quarries are a sight.

A picture or two of the trench to follow, with luck.
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SacoHarry
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Joined: 9:29 PM - Aug 22, 2006

9:41 PM - May 11, 2011 #15

As promised.

Pic #1: A batch of the pottery we washed today, uncovered by diggers two or three weeks ago. A pretty good sampling of the kinds of stuff coming up. Really wide range, and lots of beautiful bits tossed into backfill by the Romans.

Pic #2: Rim of a mortarium, with maker's stamp "SENN." WeDig'er Kate says it's from a British potter named Sennius who worked in the late 2nd C. Only the 3rd Sennius mortarium to show up at Vindolanda! I found it in the fill that built up "Temple Street."

Pic #3: A Badger sighting.

Pic #4: From up on Barcombe Hill, a skylark nest hidden in the bracken on the ground. Spotted by a Hill walker with better eyes than mine!

Pic #5: Also on Barcombe, looking southeast across Thorngrafton Common to the South Tyne valley beyond. Sun peeking through clouds illuminating distant field.
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Last edited by SacoHarry on 7:51 PM - May 12, 2011, edited 4 times in total.
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SacoHarry
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4:33 PM - May 12, 2011 #16

End of Day 4. Started with rain & more rain. Spent an hour in an interesting lecture by Andy. Nice overview to the site, some context for the early finds/levels, and tantalizing tidbits for a maybe Agricolan-era fort in the north field. (In other words, a decade earlier than the earliest known fort.)

Rain let up enough to get late-morning digging in. More drizzle in early PM but not enough to stop work. Then at tea break much of the crew took the pilgrimage to the Roman Army Museum. 8 or 9 or us stayed behind to keep working the trenches.

Temple Street is slowly eroding back to nothing all up and down its length. The goal has been to strip away the 3rd-4th C road surfaces to reveal the Antonine barrack that should be underneath. Today the crews finally did it. At the far northern part, our trio of teenagers (Roz & Brinna (sp?) from Canada and Rebecca from Michigan) uncovered the last battered bits of foundation (along with massive burning on top of the Antonine cobbles nearby). Just south of us, Pete was the first to hit proper Antonine barrack facing stones, and the wall looks great. Exactly where it should be.

Sunny (Suni? Don't know, sorry!!) and I kept working our flagstone-floored feature, which is coming up beautifully. It looks Severan, though not necessarily a roundhouse. It even, finally, elicited an under-the-breath "ooh" from our fearless excavation director. Though he probably won't admit it. The bizarre drain/oven further to the south being worked by Jeff (Geoff? I really must write down names!) and crew is still holding its mystery tight. As Temple Street narrows to nothing, a few folks are being pulled back to the northern area of the old Site #2 to trowel back areas.

Overall, it was a solid half-day of largely road demolition, with some unexpected bits coming up here and there. Sparse on finds, though Roz did pull out a beautiful, intact green melon bead, Sunny got a bronze brooch or stud, along with a few other bits up & down the line.

One more day. Sad.

A couple pictures to follow later this evening!
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Badger
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6:39 AM - May 14, 2011 #17

Last two days of week six spent running on and off the site as showers rolled through. Still a fair amount of work done.
Harry and I are in a race to get back to the states, and will likely be posting a smorgasboard of photos presently.

Harry has a two hour head start on me, but I just might catch him.

From the friendly confines of the Twicey, bags by the door.

Tim Wolter

special thanks for the generous hospitality of all the last two weeks.
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SacoHarry
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9:03 AM - May 14, 2011 #18

At Manchester airport, got WiFi for the moment. Like Tim said, lot of raindrop-dodging yesterday. Plus our crew was pulled off for surveying, so limited digging the last day. We did bash out all the rest of Temple Ave down to Severan/earlier levels. There's a beautiful bit of flagging that Sunny and I worked on, and some highly burned cobbling/slag/bone fragments where Roz, Brenna, and Rebecca were working. No Antonine wall, and even Andy & Justin are left wondering what's been happening.

Great week, sad to leave. Had so much fun seeing old friends, making new ones. Will definitely be back!!
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SophieDobson
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Joined: 6:47 PM - May 15, 2011

6:58 PM - May 15, 2011 #19

Harry it was great to meet you this last week. Anyone who was at Vindolanda before the beginning of this week would most certainly see an amazing difference where Temple Street is/was.

My pictures of the cobbles and beautiful drain in the South part of the trenches are to follow.. that was some amazing effort put in by Drew and Barbara this week who were my partners in crime, even with our finds so thin on the ground..

Here's hoping for good weather next week.
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Badger
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7:46 PM - May 15, 2011 #20

A couple of pictures of week six efforts on the part of myself, Al and Kirnan. This was a fourth century barracks room sitting atop a 3rd century roadway. And of course much more deeper down. The red line is the back wall in each case.

The first picture is before....

The second is after, with an ungainly load of rock dumped smack in the roadway. Why? Theories were voiced of a pit with subsidence, but the damp conditions precluded investigation.

Kirnan promises me resolution of this mystery if week 7 reveals it!

Tim Wolter

(have a fun birthday Sophie?)
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