Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Vindolanda 2015 Day Three - Sol Invictus

The sky overhead today atypically was filled with a bright yellow sun shining down on the assembled diggers.  Spirits were high and both archeological layers and layers of clothing were soon being peeled off.  Our late Roman/Dark Ages floor surface from yesterday was lifted off.  Whoever built it was rather clever actually, it had dozens of triagular shaped "facing stones" driven into the ground as supports.  These pie slice shaped stones were recycled from use in earlier walls.  The flat stones were then layed atop these.  It was probably a pretty good floor.

Here we are with the flooring stones off as we trowel back to the underlying road surface (late 300s AD we figure).

Maybe it was that nice round sun up in the sky, but there seemed to be a theme among the numerous artifacts that we found between the floor and the underlying road.  Lots of round or once round stuff.

Here we have a quern stone, once used for grinding grain.   It could have either been in use in this structure or used as an underfloor support.  The break is ancient.  Reused quern stones are a fairly common site in this time period.

This is a "pot lid".  It is assumed that this formed, shaped piece of stone was used to seal one of the many pottery vessels we find everywhere in shattered state.  Some of these are dubious specimens but this one is nice and round.

I found a couple of late, late Roman coins.  Try as one might, these cannot be photographed in any way that makes them impressive.  Tiny, thin, corroded.  One wipe of the finger would obliterate them.  But with careful conservation the occasional date can be determined and that is marvelous information for trying to make sense of the site.  (If one can for a
moment forget that some Roman coins circulated for decades or even centuries!).

I had a good day.  The coins, two pot lids, a whetstone.  But the nicest find for me today was this:

Upper part iron, lower part bronze.  Care to hazard a guess?

It is a beautiful little bell.  Felt to be associated in some cases with religious purposes.  It would be marvelous if the conservation lab found a pattern or inscription on it.

Good day of digging, more of our - thankfully - sloppy late Roman road surface tomorrow.

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