Hello everyone! Today I am the designated blogger of the group of Field Schoolers located within the walls of the 3rd century stone fort. Arriving on the sight today we gathered in the shed where everyone meets for lunch and we were given a lecture on context by Beth while waiting for the rest of the volunteers. When everyone did arrive and were in their respective trenches we got to work.
I was separated from the pack of Canadians/Field Schoolers and located on another road that runs behind the principia, or headquarters of the 3rd century stone fort. It was not too sad since I was joined by some wonderful volunteers, Chris and Mary. Our job was to dig up the 4th century road down to the 1st/2nd century road beneath it (there was a little debate on whether it was 1st or 2nd century). I got more into the hang of digging today, finding that it was easier to recognize the pieces of bone that I was finding. Although we are here to learn and I got some awesome advice from Andy on how to recognize the stones of the 1st/2nd century road. It basically consisted of how it should sound when my trowel goes over it. That advice really helped me out for the rest of the day. Throughout the day there were many bone pieces found in my area, but the other group of Field Schoolers in the Fort did discover a coin and a brooch pin (Mary was on a roll).
The most exciting find of the day however came from a group of volunteers working on the other side of the road I was working on. They dug up part of a small portable altar, which likely would have been a personal altar belonging to one individual. As the day was coming to a close I was able to realize why Vindolanda is so unique and special. Since we were right beside the fencing, Chris, Mary, and I had many visitors stopping by to ask us questions and sometimes just watch us work. One of those times included a group of girls on a school trip with their teacher. As Chris was explaining things to the teacher and some other girls, I dug up a large piece of bone, likely from a cow. One of the girls was watching me work and as I was wiping that piece of bone she leaned over to her friend and in a very excited voice said: “I just watched her dig that up!”. That moment was surprising to me in a lot of ways, mainly over how excited she was just watching me dig up some bone. And as I said before, it made me realize how unique Vindolanda is in having visitors able to come right up to the fence and watch an active excavation. It wasn’t a big find or anything, but that moment was probably my favourite part of the day. We finished off the day to some warmer weather and great sunshine, and I’m hoping that tomorrow will be just as great!