Hello everyone! Apologies for the lengthy hiatus; after a week without internet we’re all back in action and ready to blog! So far some of us have caught you up on the various trips and hikes we’ve undertaken in the past week, so I’m going to take the time to tell you about what’s been happening in our very our North Field trench here at Vindolanda.
Last week was our first full week of actual excavation work and I have to say I’m incredibly proud of our progress thus far! In a week’s time our team was able to uncover and explore two (Victorian) field drains, several Roman ditch networks, a potential Roman kiln/furnace, and several pottery ridden pits. All in all, a highly successful 5 days!
With the start of the current week, several of our field school members were transferred to other areas of the site and we received a handful of fresh volunteers to take their place in the North Field. It’s very exciting to meet new people from all walks of life, from younger students like ourselves looking to broaden their academic horizons to archaeological ‘veterans’ enjoying their favourite hobby.
A Vindolanda veteran of five seasons, Sally joined me in the Northeast corner of our trench where Sarah and I have been exploring a Roman ditch (fingers crossed from an early period of occupation). It was a little difficult to zero in on the ditch edges, but eventually we found the layers of natural clay we’d been searching for and plowed ahead. Our hard work produced a tray’s worth of pottery, bones, and (oddly enough) a petrified honeycomb; so cool!
Pictured above is the potential kiln. Note the red/orange earth to the left – literally clay that’s been ‘baked’ by intense heat over a long period of time – and the nearly black earth to the right – charcoal from burnt materials. Looks industrial to me, hopefully Roman era!
Here’s our very own Beth Greene checking out a ditch opposite ours in the Southwest corner of our trench. We definitely called on her for a professional opinion from time to time! Beth and Alex were also a great help in teaching myself, Mary, and Nikki how to locate particular points within the trench (especially where important finds are located) in 3D space using a digital level.
I took a crack at locating specific spots in the trench and was surprised at how easy it was! Of course, I wouldn’t have had any success had it not been for the Nikki’s excellent ranging skills!
Like my fellow students who have been relocated this week, I’ll be leaving the North Field after this week to experience a variety of areas here at Vindolanda though I’ll be sure to report the North Field’s progress in the next few days between now and then. Until next time!