Excavation Week 4

Vindolanda Trust - Wednesday, April 30, 2014
The 3rd / 4th century fort

Excavation proceeding extremely well in the fort with over 160 artefacts recovered including many small beads made from glass and jet and some horse gear. Large late 4th century barrack walls continuing to appear as we head towards the south wall of the fort. Every now and then the excavators are bathed in warm golden sunshine and things are looking good. Over the top of the 4th century barracks are a series of later walls, floors and surfaces which can only be post-Roman and we continue to find the remains of post pits later than those, dug through the Roman layers, for timber buildings which covered this part of the site in the 5th and 6th centuries.

A great deal of late 4 century pottery is coming from the last Roman layers, but unlike last season very few arrowheads thus far. This is possibly due to the high levels of disturbance in this area from later stone robbers making it tricky to piece back together all of the clues about the use of the later Roman walls and surfaces.


Fort excavations- looking west

Vicus - earlier forts

In the vicus, below extramural buildings XXX and XXXII things are also progressing well but here we have encountered over a metre of rubble, boulder clay and a suspended water table making it extremely hard work getting to the earlier Roman remains. However, as you can see from the pictures below we have encountered a well made Antonine road and yard, complete with a wide drain running through its middle, and below this surface we have managed in one section to cut down to the earlier Hadrianic surfaces below, another street with a wattle and daub lined drain. Here most of the artefacts consist of potter and a huge volume of animal bone, beautifully preserved by the anaerobic conditions. I expect we will encounter our first wooden artefacts and leather shoes shortly. Below this level, we may have to excavate a further 2-4m before we find natural clay.


Antonine street level below the foundations of the Severan barracks of XXXII


Getting down to the Hadrianic levels - and the water - below XXXII