Wrap Up in the Vicus

Well the end of our first session has sadly come. I have spent the last two weeks in the vicus and it has been an eventful two weeks. Starting just our second day, with Alex finding the full Samian ware (terra sigillata) cup, going straight through to this past Thursday with the find of a stylus tablet and wooden pot lid.

Stylus writing tablet
Samian ware cup found by Alex
Wooden pot lid placed in water to prevent deterioration

What started as a gravel expanse dating to 1971 has now become a multilayer trench with an Antonine period ditch dating to the mid 2nd century AD, as well as wooden wattle and daub posts and walls dating to Timber Fort 4, in the early 2nd century AD.

My trench with Antonine ditch and wattle and daub fencing

Excavating down through the history of the site has brought many learning experiences to all of us, from the practical physical excavation tips, to observational methods to see changes in the stratigraphy of our sites, to learning the overall history of Roman Britain and how our site fits into that picture. We’ve gained the comraderie of the trenches and become closer friends with each other and got really muddy throughout the whole process. In Steve and Nick’s trench they uncovered a flagstone floor and then a wooden floor from an earlier period showing obviously differing levels of occupation.

Steve and Nick’s trench at the end of two weeks with flagstone in the foreground and wooden floor in the background

Sarah uncovered flagstone ground covering underneath an Antonine road and then began work in the lower anaerobic layers of the next trench discovering many bone artefacts including a carved dagger-like object and many animal skulls.

Bone, possibly antler with carved handle
Sarah’s anaerobic trench

Between the multiple sites we found two shoes, three coins, a spindle whorl, a partial glass bangle, two beautiful complete or near complete examples of pottery, as well as a few examples of almost complete larger coarseware cooking vessels.

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Spindle whorl found by Steve
Coin found by Steve
Coin found by Steve
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Near complete coarseware pot
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Partial glass bangle found on Sarah’s road

I’m sure there are many more magnificent finds to come in the next two weeks as the next group swaps into the vicus for excavations and I’m sure they’ll have as much fun as I did.

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