Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Vindolanda 2013 - Day Seven

We like to think of the Romans as being incredibly organized and efficient.  And indeed, they did do many things quite competently.  But as civil engineers they had their shoddy moments.

The Vindolanda site where I excavate was occupied from circa 90 AD up until the Romans left or disintegrated circa 410.  (And beyond into the Dark Ages, but we know so little.)  In that time there were two stone forts and something like 8 wooden ones.  All on the same site.

Inevitably newer structures start sinking into older ditches and basements.  Nobody kept any records of previous work, perhaps.

So you see all sorts of bending and buckling walls.

In my corner of (?) barracks block the floor has simply dropped away to unknown depths.  You can imagine some distant ancestor of Tim the Tool Man Taylor just dumping more and more rocks into it in an attempt to level it up.

Central to this mess is what looks to be a damaged segment of round column that may have been given up as a flawed specimen, or perhaps broken when it was "borrowed" from another building.  Maybe they tried to run some kind of planked floor across it?

I had nothing for small finds today but interesting stuff is happening here and there.

This is a bit of "mortaria" a Roman grinding bowl.  Note the coarse, rough grit built into the glaze.

And here are two "in situ" pots.  The first seems to have been discarded after being fire damaged.  The normal black glaze has turned red.

The second was tantalizingly buried in the floor of a late barracks.  Could it be a bank for the soldiers stationed there?  Alas, carefully excavated by a first year digger (they always find the cool stuff), it was empty.  Account closed.

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