Thursday, May 14, 2015

Vindolanda 2015 Day Four

A breezy day of digging.  I had on every available stitch for part of the day.  No rain at least.

Our mound of jumbled rock - formerly the dwelling of a Late/Post Roman inhabitant - has mostly been cleared back showing the 4th century road surface underneath.  This is not the finely fashioned surface of the Via Appia.  No, by that point in time the attitude was as it always is in declining Empires "meh, good enough".

A before and after study.  When you are troweling away it is not sufficient to see what is exposed, you want to see what is coming up next so as not to take a swipe out of it.  Now, as you dig you find a limitless number of green pebbles.  But if you ever see something like this....stop at once.

It is subtle but note the greenish tint leaching into the surrounding soil.  This means there is a bronze object there, the tint is copper oxide. When carefully exposed it turned out to be this:

It is not entirely clear what this is, something late Roman and decorative.  Sometimes they have a flat panel with an inscription so the real "after" photo will have to come after conservation.  Of course the eye tries to make sense of things.  When I brought this over to the head Archeologist I told him that I thought I had implausibly found a Roman era cartridge from a .303 Enfield rifle.

As this was my only find of interest today I will add a couple of pictures from elsewhere on the site.

Imagine you are a Roman, walking around in a fort made up of stone streets.  Also imagine that mud and less savory but equally sticky substances are everywhere, especially after a heavy rain.  Well, you might step into something squelchy and be unable or unwilling to pull your sandal out of it.

And there it sits for 1800 years until somebody excavates the street paver in question and finds the nails from your sandal still sitting there in perfect array!

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