In the past couple of days, we’ve been updating you all on our dig sites and on archaeology in general. However, at Vindolanda we aren’t the only ones digging and there are several volunteers who are helping out for the next week. I thought it would be great if you got to meet some of the people working here because we’ve grown quite fond of them. In order to get to know them better, I’ve asked them all one question (much like the Humans of New York style) and recorded their responses.
Working in: The Vicus
Graduate of the University of Bristol for English
What is your favourite book and why?
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. Her writing style is incredibly innovative (it’s a stream of consciousness). She has a really interesting way of fusing the past and present. In fact, she was even interested in archaeology. The book itself deals a lot with the effects of World War I and the population of London at the time. Specifically, it deals with the treatment of shell shock and that, along with the whole war is quite interesting to me.
Working in: The Fort
From Freiburg, Germany on the edge of the Black Forest
Why did you decide to come to Vindolanda?
Two years ago, I was walking on the Hadrian’s Wall Path. Afterwards, I met two Canadians at a bus stop and when I asked them why they were visiting, they explained that they were working at Vindolanda. I became interested and researched all the information. I waited because I was working at the time but this June, I started my retirement. My wife and I came for a small vacation in England and then I stayed to volunteer at Vindolanda. I wanted to do something different in my retirement.
Brooklyn, New York, USA. Surprised us with Popsicles during lunch today!
What is your favourite hobby?
I actually have two hobbies and the funny thing is that they are diametrically opposite to one another. Of course, this right here (archaeology). But I also enjoy salvage diving which is the opposite of what we do here. Diving is quite dangerous because the deeper you go, the harder it is to maintain buddy diving. My wife prefers it when I’m at Vindolanda! Where do you salvage? In the sunken Spanish Gallion off the coast of Key West. When did you start? I started diving about 40 years ago in New York around the German U-Boat off the coast of New Jersey.
Working in: The fort
Originally from Milan, Italy but currently lives in Newcastle
Why did you, a Roman Archaeologist, leave Italy and come to England?
The quality of the BA in Italy is high and I did mine in classics at the University of Milan. When it comes to Masters Degrees, the material is basically the same and they expect you to volunteer indefinitely. You could be in your forties and still work part time and I didn’t want that. I realised what I wanted to do and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do that, especially special aspects like public relations, to the same extent in Italy. So, I intentionally did my Masters at the University of Newcastle and I ended up at Vindolanda.
Working in: The fort
Lives in Bristol with her husband Ken
What was the best trip you’ve ever taken?
The best trip I ever took was to Antarctica. We were on a small ship and we visited several small islands for three days. We then went to South Georgia and Shackleton. Ernest Shackleton was on a voyage to the South Pole when his ship got stuck in ice. Since it was during World War I, rescue ships were not available and he left 28 men on Elephant Island, converting other life rafts into ships so that he could sail for help. He eventually reached Grytviken from which he organised a rescue party for the rest of his crew. We did the last part of his trip to South Georgia. It was a beautiful day (much like today) and we saw penguins, whales, and other wildlife. Seeing the animals was fantastic but another great part of the trip was the comradery on a ship filled with like-minded people (just like Vindolanda!).