Three Johns in a John

Following our departure from the north field yesterday, a few of us began working in the fort itself, and Shannon and I began digging next to an Antonine stone loo (but more on that in a bit). The two of us are working on pulling up a 4th century floor to eventually reveal a Severan period surface beneath, and while our fellow workers across the sites are uncovering finds regularly, we managed to find a singular pottery sherd today. However, after hours of hauling rather large stones and building muscles in every part of our body, we were thankful for the small piece, and seeing the progress even from morning to afternoon is definitely exciting enough to make up for our seeming loss.

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The 4th century floor Shannon and I are removing

But the loo!

The loo is to the south of us and is currently being excavated by three wonderful men named John; the fun part here is that the Johns are working on the John. The Johns have been keeping things interesting for Shannon and I, sharing their own finds with us and even carting some of our massive stones off for us. The kindness and enthusiasm of all the other diggers around us is incredibly encouraging, welcoming and never fails to amaze me.

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I didn’t get a quality photo of the loo, so here it is above mine and Shannon’s excavation

More on the toilets. The toilets are in a room with a drain running from the north into a water tank and through the building, and into these drains is where people would have done their business. The most fantastic part about this (to me) is that some of their business has stuck around, and the Johns discovered 1800-year-old human waste. Poop. Yes, the fort has ancient poop and I’ve never been so excited about such a thing. The thing about fecal matter is that we can find out what these people were eating; things such as seeds often remain in these samples and can be analyzed by experts to better understand lifeways of the Romans here in Vindolanda. As a student of bioarchaeology, this topic definitely stole the spotlight for today!

Until next time!

PS: I hope all of the Johns spell their name this way and I’m very sorry if I got it wrong.

2 thoughts on “Three Johns in a John

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