My Experience at Vindolanda 2012

Hello blog-followers!  For those of you who don’t know me I am Sarah Taylor, also known as Staylo and Sarah #1. There have been a lot of posts lately about what we have been doing, but not a lot about how the experiences have been impacting us personally, so here goes:

This excavation is my second and it has given me the opportunity to experience a completely different work environment.  During the 2010 summer, I participated in excavations at Nysa in Turkey.  The temperature stayed around 40 degrees, we got about 3 drops of rain total and the work was made harder than necessary by the dry climate.  Even though site was interesting the process was painful for me; I learned a lot about my physical limitations while trying to participate in the excavation process and left Turkey feeling like I just wasn’t cut out for archaeology.

But once I got home and I was removed from the situation, I was able to see that I had gained so much from that experience.  Yes I have very weak wrists that need to be attended to but I realized that I do love archaeology and I simply needed to find a place where I could work.  It’s because of this that I applied for the Vindolanda field school. I figured if I could work anywhere, a site where they have to constantly bail water out of their trenches would be it.

And I was right! Over the past four weeks I have learned exactly how much perseverance and determination can accomplish.  It is only because I was determined to make archaeology work for me that I ended up here having the time of my life.  Yes, I have had to be careful but I am able to fully participate in excavation: the wet climate keeps the soil heavy but malleable and I’m able to move it without lasting trouble.

Over the course of my time here I have also had the opportunity to meet leading experts in the field of Romano-British archaeology and learn about programs I had never heard about before.  I have met students at universities in England who are on the same path as I am, had the chance to compare experiences and share information.  Meeting all of these people has been invaluable and has helped me to formulate an exciting plan for the future.

While I’m on the topic of people who have helped to make this trip unforgettable, I would like to thank all of the donors who have made this trip possible.  I am incredibly grateful for their support.  Dreams like this could simply not be realized without your help.

I look forward to applying to MA programs in the fall; I hope to study more about the Roman frontier in the future (possibly at Newcastle) and most of all I hope that I will have the chance to excavate at Vindolanda again.  The site is amazing, all of the people involved are phenomenal and the experience has been life-altering.

2 thoughts on “My Experience at Vindolanda 2012

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Sarah! I’m glad you’ve stuck with archaeology and found a place where you can enjoy the work. It sounds like you’ll be coming back to Western in the fall with some good energy and motivation for the next step.

  2. Sarah: what a great post! I loved reading about how this experience (of which, trust me, many of us are downright envious) has changed you as a person. I think for many of us we assume that all that long work in the rain is a “good thing” but it is nice to hear you articulate just how that is. Thanks. These sorts of self-reflexive posts are a nice complement to the other ones.


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