Monday, May 2, 2011

Rock of Ages-Vindolanda digging day one

First day of digging. 

You never quite know where you will be assigned to work.  Sometimes it is an area full of promise, sometimes not so much.  Of course the counterpoint is that on occasion the most interesting findings come from places that had no darned business being interesting-that is simply the nature of archeological investigation.

For the first day I was teamed up with a talkative and very learned fellow named Nigel.  We were assigned an area that looked like an unpromising patch of rocks formed from tumble down walls.

After moving many wheelbarrows of rocks a few features started to pop through.  Alas, although this area held a floor surface it was the floor of a post roman dwelling.  Post roman basically means dirt poor.  They had forgotten the concepts of coinage, pottery making, and pretty much everything else.  They still remembered how to make jewelry and weapons.  Indeed, our one “small find” of the day was the pin from a brooch.  Other than that it was bits of old weathered pottery and rocks.  And more rocks.

After a while you make a study of rocks, out of necessity.

The rule is that you always swipe the surface of rocks before sending them to the spoils heap.  After all, a couple of years ago this turned up;

But today nothing of the sort. 

I did find a few interesting rocks laying about the site.

Here is one close to the surface.   Each line is a plow mark, where some medieval farmer clobbered it hard enough to chip stone.  No doubt each mark was accompanied by a vivid Old English curse.

 Here is a rock with a mark from the quarry.  Batch 14 presumably.

Here is a rock used as a mold for making window frames by pouring in lead.  Roman forts were in large measure self sufficient and practiced quite a bit of low level manufacturing.

Another brilliant day of weather predicted for tomorrow, we anticipate finishing the floor of the dirt poor Dark Agers and dropping down another 4 inches to the late Roman roadway.  These are sometimes swept barren but on a similar road a few yards away I did find a goodly number of small coins a couple seasons back.

1 comment:

Honeybee said...

Very chilly weather at home, nothing to unearth here but our gloves and hats from the erstwhile stored stash in the closet. Computer bugs reign chez Babs, I understand, so if messages need sending, e-post them to Next Door Honeybee. Dig on! P.S. We assume word of OBL's death reached the site so we'll be interested in the pub talk on the subject.