Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Vindolanda 2017 Day Three

A day of magnificent weather.  Blue skies, sun, warmth but just enough gentle breeze to keep things comfortable.  It could not be improved upon.

And the archeology?  Well, not bad.  I should not be complaining.

We are actually working on two different and interesting archeological "features". I have already mentioned the fancy cement floor of the fort commander's residence. We continued to expose it bit by bit.  Admittedly this was fairly monotonous work, not a lot of surprises along the way.  Just a lot of soil to be shifted.

At one point we did find this perfectly square clay tile set into the mix of rubble and clay.  Why?  We shall never know.  Alas it did not have a maker's mark, graffito or critter paw print.

Here is the trench at the end of day three.

What we have here is nice white cement on the right.  Grotty, pebble filled cement on the left.  And in between a groove full of random stones.  It also has a bunch of soft soil and even some empty spaces.  Notice that it is slightly curved?

Current theory, subject of course to revision, is that this is the foundation of one of the "Severan Round Houses".  These are an enigma, and appear to be unique in Roman forts.

Here is an aerial view elsewhere in the fort, of a couple of round houses that have been preserved.

These things popped up in the very early 200s, and were only in use for a few years. Nobody can explain them definitively.  Theories abound.

They resemble the houses used by the native Britons.  So were they for Prisoners of War captured when Septimus Severus tried to march up and conquer Scotland?  Or for "loyal" Britons who were sheltered under the walls of the Roman fort for their safety? (The fort in this era was adjacent, the square foundations you see above are earlier...and later, it is a confusing site).  Some even claim that they resemble the huts used by Septimus' North African troops.  

We don't know the answer, in part because without exception the round houses are almost entirely free of artifacts.  

So, as a day of digging it was good but I don't expect to find much in the way of clever artifacts in the next few days, and we seem to have the features fairly well explained by now.

But it was a marvelous day.  It was so nice in fact that I decided to walk the two miles back to the pub which is my home away from home on the excavations.  Five different diggers slowed down to offer me rides, all of which I declined.  Sun, gentle tail wind, time to think and relax, some days are just to nice to be riding in a car.

And at the end of the trail....

1 comment:

The Old Man said...

Booyah. Some days just need that marvelous finish. Keep us in you life loop, amigo.