Saturday, May 14, 2016

Vindolanda 2016 Day Five

We had a "normal" day of Northumbrian weather today, grey, windy and much cooler.  Knock wood, no rain.

As we dropped our trench a few more centimeters it became obvious that we were in a very complicated area, in fact the most confusing place I have seen in many years of excavation.

On the left a hard packed clay floor.  Running down the middle a woven wattle and daub fence.  On the right a bewildering assortment of posts, planks, randomly tossed in slabs of stone, patches of clay.  It has the look of persisting and very slipshod attempts to repair something.  As of end of day Friday, we don't know what kind of building we are in, or why the two areas are so radically different.

We continue our pattern of recent days, few finds but interesting ones.

Shoes are a common find on site - the museum has about 6000 of them - but somehow I had not come across one before.  Here I pose with my foot as a reference point.

We are obviously in the layers where organic items survive.  Our two most interesting finds of the day were both wooden.  Once you spot an artifact of this sort you of course trowel it clear with great care.  Usually while doing this you can't tell quite what you have.  Lets see a couple of artifacts through their excavation and "show off" stages.

A roughly oval piece of shaped oak plank.  It has holes bored through it in a regular pattern.
This might be a barrel top cut down and repurposed or perhaps a bit of furniture.  A chair back would be more plausible than the various alternatives put forward.  I mean, the Romans were clever but had not invented skate boards in the late First Century.

Another series of three.  You really can't avoid taking a slice out of wooden artifacts in this sort of environment so the first picture shows a round hollow bit of wood.  The white stuff adjacent to it was just brittle crumbly material.   The second picture shows a nice bit of wood that has been turned on a lathe, with the final picture showing all.

It looks nice enough to be a chair leg or something similar.  But the hollow in the middle, the trace of lead at one end and the cross hole right near our model's thumb make this a probable section of wooden water pipe.

Alas the only section we found so no help with managing the water that steadily seeped into our trench all day.

1 comment:

Harry said...

Congratulations on the first shoe! I don't care if they have 6,000, it's always a bit of a thrill holding something that was a personal possession & was once actually worn. I love the wooden bits too. Jealous of what looks like a fab season! -- Harry