New Friends feat. Veronica and Roxanne

I’m here today to introduce you all to some of our new friends here at Vindolanda! Every day each of us work alongside numerous volunteers who spend two or more weeks of their lives excavating the fort in the summer, and I can’t say enough about how wonderful it has been to interact with so many wonderful people from so many different places.

Shannon and I have been working with two fantastic ladies since Monday, and while we’ve chatted about a number of things, and exchanged some ghost stories, I asked them each a few questions to learn some more about them.

Introducing…

Veronica and Roxanne!!

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Veronica on the left, Roxanne on the right

Veronica is from Banbury, Oxfordshire and Roxanne is from Friday Harbour, Washington, though she grew up in Calgary, Alberta, like me! I learned that both of the ladies are recently retired; Veronica worked as a teacher previously, most recently in a prison (which she felt was interesting but stressful), and Roxanne was a physiotherapist, and currently writes a monthly column for a yacht magazine.

In attempting to be a proper interviewer, I asked the ladies what brought them to Vindolanda, the most important question of all. Veronica excavated at Vindolanda last summer for two weeks, though she’s been interested in archaeology for a while and even did continuing education at Oxford in archaeology for two years. She has also excavated at a Roman site near Oxford, as well as at a Mesolithic site near Scarborough, and discovered the opportunity to volunteer at Vindolanda while walking Hadrian’s Wall with her husband. Like Veronica, Roxanne also walked Hadrian’s Wall with her husband and a friend two years ago and discovered the opportunity at Vindolanda through the adventure and excavated last summer for the first time.

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Roxanne, Veronica and Shannon hard at work

And while I’m still waiting to uncover something completely unique, both Veronica and Roxanne have seen some rather interesting things! Last year, Veronica was present when a carving of a dog and a hare was found on the underside of a stone that was about to be smashed into pieces with a sledge hammer. She also found a strip of leather in an unexpected place within the fort last week! Roxanne made a great number of finds last week including a spear, a knife and a helmet handle, but her favourite of all was a delicate piece of metal mirror frame.

Being the fantastic reporter than I am, I asked the ladies what their favourite animals are (so creative, I know), and learned that Roxanne loves fawns and thinks they’re absolutely adorable (rightly, so) and that Veronica loves dogs and has a 12 year old collie at home. I followed up with a more reasonable inquiry, where would you like to travel if you could go anywhere? Roxanne’s favourite vacation spot is Maui where she goes with her husband, as well as Paris, but she would also like to see the maritime provinces of Canada, a destination often missed by many of us. Also keeping it close to home, Veronica would like re-visit Scotland, travelling to the Shetland and Orkney Islands where the archaeology is fascinating.

That’s it for today, here is a picture of the progress the ladies have helped us make this week!  Cheers!

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