Mystery Stratigraphy


Time sure does fly when you’re having fun, and these past few weeks at Vindolanda have flown by. This week started off by another very indecisive pattern of weather on Monday that left most of us working in the North trench, and i’m sure the same for those working in the vicus this week, with their wellies on treading through excessive amounts of mud. But that can’t stop the 2014 Vindolanda Field School team as we kept trucking through it. Luckily today and the past 2 days have been glorious and warm.

After last week I am back in the North trench working on a ditch that possibly travels from the south eastern end to the south western end. After hours and hours of staring at dirt and countless questioning to the professors, I have begun to understand the stratigraphy, or the deposition of soil seen in layers, in my area. Carefully recording such strata seen is called stratification, and it has been my job to recognize these strata in the area I am working. In the photo shown above there are four layers that can be recognized by looking closely.The layer closest to the top is the layer that has been most recently deposited and is made up of a lighter brown soil with sandstone in it. Below that is a layer of lighter grey silt, and below that a layer of gravel. The fourth layer, which is the oldest in context is a very heavy, dark clay.

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