Monday, April 29, 2013

Vindolanda 2013 - Day One

A day of brisk winds and sun alternating with rain and hail.  But work went on uninteruppted.

Today most of the team was assigned to de-turfing...removing the grass and its roots to start the careful study of the archeology underneath.  But my mate Pete and I drew a different duty.  It fell to us to define the extent of a "robber trench".

Robber trench is a generic term encompassing early, sketchily documented digs by 19th century antiquaries as well as ongoing raids by local farmers looking for convenient, well cut building stones.  There are a lot of damned nice barns and sheds in this part of the world.

In particular there were thoughts that our area had been explored by diggers either in the 1830s or the 1930s.

This may seem unpromising work but there were artifacts to be found, especially a batch of broken red Roman roof tiles.  And, our trench butted up against the 213 AD fort wall.  It is fun being able to work in the vicinity of such a substantial structure.

As we closed in on the end of the trench we ran across a series of odd wooden stakes.  Crude, they seemed to have no clear purpose.  They were not Roman....anything organic from that era would not survive in this condition.

It was not clear just what they were, but as they were clearly not ancient eventually one came out...

It appears to be the equivalent of a giant tent stake!  Crudely fashioned from a sapling it likely held up some sort of tarp or canopy in the 1830s excavation.

Elsewhere on the site......

Here is a worked stone rebuilt into a latter, rather shoddy wall.  The incised area may have held some sort of painted plasterwork.

And kind of a cute little detail..some Roman tiles when fired developed odd colored lines from uneven heat.  An accidental design flourish!

Favorable forecast for the morrow...

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