Hello all, Andrew here.
This week half of us have been moved to excavations within the vicus at Vindolanda. Thus far it has been a wonderful experience of which the other half of our field school will be participating in next week when our group returns to the North field.
This extramural settlement was home to people who were involved on a daily basis with the series of forts at Vindolanda but were not themselves army personel. Excavations of the vicus allow us to gain a perspective on the lives of people living in the military community but are not soldiers and the effect the army had on areas surrounding their forts.
The experience has offered a change of scenery as well as the opportunity to work under some experts other than our most excellent professors Dr. Greene and Dr. Meyer.
Currently Sarah Taylor, Lauren Flynn, Alicia Maddalena and myself (Andrew Dodd) are charged with following a drain feature further South within the trench. This has thus far involved de-turfing a new area, troweling back our uncovered ground, and exposing uncovered features and changes in the make-up of the soil. As the sun has been shining (quite surprisingly!) and the dirt is quite wet (not at all surprising!) it has been very hard but still very pleasurable work. Signs of life abound and we are constantly uncovering pottery and animal bones – all good signals that this area was well lived in by ancient peoples.
We will continue our work until Friday and I’m confident that the vicus will continue to surprise and enlighten all of us about the lives of civilian peoples of the Roman Empire and their relationship to military settlements.