Sunday, May 17, 2015

Vindolanda 2015 Day Five - Christianity in Ruins

A delayed post, but one appropriate for a Sunday.

We finished cleaning up our late Roman road surface and were delighted to find our curvy drain resume after it took a brief hiatus.  Doesn't this look great!

Hey, wait a minute....what is going on at the end of the drain?  It just dead ends...

So, what we have here is an area of disturbed soil, lighter in color than the adjacent dark layer.  It is about five feet by two feet and was carved right into a late Roman road.  The alignment is in a perfect north-south axis and it is near the back of what was felt to be a post Roman church.  Hmmmmm..

There were a few hours of enthusiasm for the theory that this might be a post Roman grave
for a religious person of importance.  Vague references to there being a bishop here in the early Dark Ages danced about for us briefly.

Alas, alas.  This is certainly a post Roman feature but really far post. There have been excavations at Vindolanda in the 19th and early 20th century that were noted more for the zeal of their digging than for the completeness of their paperwork.  This seems to have been a test pit from one of them.  We are not the first crew to imagine that the area next to the headquarters building might have some interesting features.

But post Roman Christianity on the site is fact, not fancy.  Walking through the area we excavated last season a surprise popped up on an exposed rock.  Something that was not noticed at the time it was excavated...

Chi Rho, a classic Christian symbol on a slab of stone from the 5th, 6th or perhaps even Darker century!

No comments: