My New Excavation Area in the Fort

Our work area at the start of the day today. We deturfed and dug down to the first set of stones the previous two days.
Our work area at the start of the day today. We deturfed and dug down to the first set of stones the previous two days.

Excavating in the vicus alongside Beth and Steve was slow, steady, careful work. The anaerobic material we were operating in allows for incredible preservation and over the years has produced a number of unbelievable finds. While digging in the area we had to be extra vigilant and make sure we did not sink a spade into something like a writing tablet or a leather shoe. Although we did not necessarily move a ton of dirt Steve, Beth, and I (along with a few other volunteers) found several interesting artifacts and in my opinion added valuable pieces of the past to the site’s overall collection. Vindolanda, however, is very large and has an assortment of excavation areas. My new spot inside the fort is far more robust and for the last few days a pickaxe has replaced my trowel.

Our work area at the end of the day. Notice how the front right part of the mound has been completely removed and dropped down to the road level.
Our work area at the end of the day. Notice how the front right part of the mound has been completely removed and dropped down to the road level.

The area I and my new team of volunteers David, James, and Bill are working in is located right beside a remarkably well-preserved water tank that was later perhaps turned into a baptismal font with the arrival of Christianity. Our task for the week is to clear a mound made of mostly dirt and rubble from the nearby principia and get down to the third century road that runs alongside the feature. So far we have discovered a few small finds and made a good bit of progress towards our goal. I am confident that come Friday the team and I will have freed the old Roman road from its stone-filled covering.

Pictured below are some of the artifacts that have been found in both our specific excavation zone and another area of the fort. Apart from the odd nail and piece of pottery all of the finds from our section came in the afternoon today, once we got through the top layer of stones. Excitingly, although not included below, we even found a brass dupondius coin! For me finding coins just seems to never get old.

Some sort of chain link/ metal ring uncovered in our trench.
Some sort of chain link/ metal ring uncovered in our trench.
A knife blade, also from our trench.
A knife blade, also from our trench.
An inscribed piece of pottery found by Norman and Sarah in the rampart in the southeast corner of the fort. It appears to have the lettersv
An inscribed piece of pottery found by Norman and Sarah in the rampart in the southeast corner of the fort. It appears to have the letters “I N D” (and maybe “O”) etched on it. “VINDOLANDA” perhaps?

Keep a look out for real time posts of finds such as these on the Vindolanda Trust’s facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TheVindolandaTrust?fref=ts

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