Some of us leaving Vindolanda on the last day of Field School

My experience at Vindolanda has been unforgettable. I have had the opportunity to meet and become friends with people from all over the world and I personally think that the people involved here are the most important aspect of Vindolanda. These people come from many walks of life but as a unified group, they have come together to share their common interest and work to uncover the past. It really showed me how important it is to understand the past. Though it is time for us Canadians to go, hopefully many more volunteers will come and continue our work. Through our combined efforts, one day the lives and events of those who lived at Vindolanda will come into clarity.

I would like to thank Beth, Alex, and the wonderful people at Vindolanda for giving me this amazing opportunity. I would also like to give a special thanks to those who have donated to the field school. Without them, this dream may not have come true for me. These last five weeks have been some of the best in my life and I have done things that I would never have had the opportunity to do: I have hiked long sections of the ancient frontier along Hadrian’s Wall,  found things that no one has seen or touched in the last 1800 years, and most importantly, learned a lot about the history of Vindolanda, as well as archaeology itself.

But as the title implies, it is time for me to go. I hope that I will be able to come again some day. Until next time,




Happy Canada Deh!

Shannon and Ben celebrating Canada Day.

It’s a time be merry and gay,

For it is Canada day.

It was quite a delight,

Seeing all the red and white.

Union Jacks and Star-spangled banners,

Celebrating with us, in like manner.

Vindolanda is like a tether,

That has brought us all together.

Our anthem was played,

As finds were made.

The Canadians giving the excavation team gifts.

Though we were astray,

We came together at the end of May,

From separate paths, our eyes bright,

To undergo this rite.

The Severan ditch,

Then making the switch,

Giving some support,

To the main fort.

In the sun and rain,

Absorbing the knowledge to be gained.

All culminating in a wonderful way,

Here on Canada day.

Marta receiving a big Canada Day hug at the end of the day.

A Memory That Will Forever Last

We worked through the sun, and the rain,

through our aches and pains,

And by way of our toil,

Broke rock, stripped soil.

But soon we felt heroic,

For we had reached angelic anaerobic.

No one could remain stoic,

Especially those, who are Osmophobic.

Because underneath our feet,

Lay a treasure deep.

Such as coins of bronze,

Engraved with the faces of icons,

Or shoes made of leather,

Protected from the weather.

Each giving a look into the past,

A memory that will forever last.

A trench lowered to the anaerobic level. Photo taken by Shannon Collins.


The Hidden Veil of Vindolanda

From the depths of history,
Shrouded by mystery,
A world where the gods ruled,
Their power, not to be ridiculed.
Especially Jupiter, who in any aspect,
Had many a subject.
Where those, long dead,
Rise from their eternal bed.
Who once gained this land in victory,
Amassing anything gold and silvery.
Where they rested, after battles cooled,
Of which many have been schooled.
Commanded by a prefect,
Whose priority was to protect,
Or to help the Empire spread,
Where one dare not tread.
The Roman Site of Vindolanda.

The Raid of The Spades

They held camp upon a hill,

Down they went, taken in by the thrill.

Through the mists of time,

To the treasure within the slime.

Hordes of enemies stood in their way,

Turf, Iron pan, and clay.

As they cut and cleaved,

Their enemies grieved.

Not satisfied with the kill,

They kept fighting, to find their fill.

Searching amongst grime,

Looking for a stime,

Of a cache as it lay,

Hidden from the sight of day.

From history, the store is retrieved,

They leave, with their goal achieved.

Raid of Spades
The raiders (Sarah, Prem, and Ben) celebrate their victory.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, Along the Wall We Go

The team at Sycamore Gap, along Hadrian’s Wall.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the live posts from our hike! Now that you’ve seen snapshots of the highlights, I’m going to change things up a bit and lead you down a more mystical path about one of the iconic locations on Hadrian’s Wall-Sycamore Gap. In English folklore, the sycamore tree behind us is believed to be a fairy tree.  Among Celtic Legend, the Aos Si were spirits of nature who were driven into hiding because of human invasion.  The places where they hid, such as groves and trees, became sacred. throughout the course of time these spirits became the basis for our conception of fairies. A fairy tree is similar to a sacred grove, it is where the spirit lives. It is meant to be protected and it’s thought that those who harm a fairy tree will suffer the fairy’s wrath.

However, the sycamore’s mystical roots do not end at fairy trees. Sycamore trees were also revered in ancient Egypt.  Ancient Egyptians believed sycamore trees made up the east gate of heaven, where Ra would travel through each morning. Since the trees made up the gate between Heaven and Earth, sycamores where thought to have a semi-divine quality. Furthermore, they believed the goddess Hathor created the world on top of a sycamore tree. People would bury their deceased in sycamore coffins, hoping that it would connect the soul of the deceased to the mother goddess.

And as you can see from the picture below, for us it is an all-important shady spot to rest on a hot day! I hope you enjoyed this little folktale. Until next time, cheers.

Laying under the sycamore tree. From left to right: Prem, Justine, Shannon, and Me (Ben).



Ben Moore at Vindolanda

My name is Ben Moore. I grew up in the small town of Simcoe, Ontario. As long as I can remember I have been enthralled by antiquity, especially Roman history and philosophy. My interest in the ancient world eventually led me to enroll in the Department of Classical Studies at Western University. I have just finished my third year at Western and I plan to graduate with an Honors degree by next summer.

I am excited to be a part of the Vindolanda Field School. I am especially looking forward to excavating next week with the possibility of uncovering an inscription, that could give us more insight into the everyday life of a soldier.

Till next time, cheers.