Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Regarding The Vindo Landa Rush, Carpenters and Sooners

This, as seen on a sestertius, is a carpentum.  It was a two wheeled covered wagon usually pulled by mules.  Incidentally, our word for cart is a simple contraction of carpentum, and since they were made of wood our word for carpenter descends from this source.  Perhaps from the intermediate step of a maker of carpentums; no doubt with a common source of "carpe" or to grasp as for instance, a tool. 

This is an image of the Oklahoma Land Rush, actually one of several events where previously off limits land was opened up for settlers at a designated time.  Wagons, looking much the same but with four wheels by now, lined up at the border and at the designated time folks rode hell for leather to stake claims on the best locations.

Sometimes they got there and found the prime sites already occupied by folks who snuck in illegally and early.  This has entered American lore, and these industrious cheaters are recalled as "Sooners".  This is also the name of the University of Oklahoma's football team.  One would imagine endless offsides penalties, but they actually have been very successful over the years.

So, what is the end destination for the above linguistic wanderings?  Clearly I am not riding all out to stake a physical claim someplace.

The point is this.  At exactly noon Greenwich Mean Time, November first, the on line registration for the 2012 Vindolanda excavation season goes live.  This "virtual" Vindo Landa Rush gets more intense every year.  For the 2011 season 75% of the 600 spots vanished in the first 12 hours.  This included pretty much all of the more desirable slots in June, July and August.  Certainly a far cry from my first season...I recall signing up in January of 2008 to go digging in May of that year!

Hopefully all goes well.  (Rumor has it that a computer glitch did allow a few "Sooners" for the 2010 season!).  I know that a few feelings were bruised and plans altered last time around when folks had some unavoidable delay at getting to their keyboards.

So wish me luck, I will be aiming for my usual two weeks in early May, a time when Northumberland is green and perfect, when the curlews are making a racket, and when mysteries await the trowel.

(scheduling this to post at precisely noon GMT!)


Honeybee said...

Victory at NDLand, I hear. Hooray!

Tacitus2 said...

Well, the redoubtable NDL does seem to have prevailed, although the order seems locked in the system and will have to be pried loose manually.

The entire month of May was booked up by 12:07 GMT.