End of 2018 excavations

Vindolanda Trust - Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Here we are, at the end of 2018 excavation season, ready for a recap of what we have uncovered during this summer of extremes. From the Beast from the East snowstorm welcoming our period 1 excavators, to the heatwave mid- season; from the topsoil and the Smith’s Chester farmhouse to a depth of 4.50m down, here are 5 things that the 2018 excavation season has taught to our volunteer excavators and post excavators, as well as to the visitors joining us at the trench side. 1) The position of Smith’s chester Croft’s and the depth of post roman layers. The precise location and extent of the 17th to 19th century  Read more...

A closer look at our pottery - Samian Ware

Vindolanda Trust - Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Pottery is something we find in great quantities at Vindolanda during each excavation season - usually into the tens of thousands of sherds per year. A volunteer excavator is almost guaranteed to find some when they are here. The types of pottery we find vary in origin, manufacture, size, shape, material, colour, design and decoration. Here we focus on one of them - Samian Ware. (Samian Ware bowl from Vindolanda) What is it? Samian Ware, or Terra Sigillata, is basically fancy Roman tableware. It is the most commonly used high quality pottery from Roman Britain. Where does the name come from? Sa Read more...

A guest post by our 'young person bursary' winner

Vindolanda Trust - Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Today we host a guest post written by one of our volunteer excavators, Emily. Emily was one of the two winners of the Vindolanda young person bursary 2018. This yearly opportunity sponsors students between 16 and 18 years old, and up to 25 years old if in full time education. It covers the costs of participating to the excavations as well as the cost of full board on site accommodation. This is what Emily had to say about her Vindolanda experience: ‘My first - and only - experience of archaeology prior to Vindolanda consisted of a 6-week online course and while this course was an excellent introduction to the field, it never Read more...

A Guest Post - The Vindolanda Leather Project

Vindolanda Trust - Wednesday, August 08, 2018
A guest blog post by Professor Elizabeth Greene. (The VALP team) In the past 6 weeks, a team of five (see image above) from the University of Western Ontario in Canada have been working on the Vindolanda Archaelogical Leather Project (VALP) directed by the Vindolanda Museum Curator, Barbara Birley, and Western professor, Elizabeth Greene. Vindolanda is a site that is famous for its stunning organic preservation, leading to an enormous collection of wood, tablets, textiles, and leather. Because these materials were used extensively by the Romans, the artefacts made from them can reveal much about Roman life at Vindoland Read more...

Recording and interpreting

Vindolanda Trust - Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Sometimes, when excavating a site as complex and significant as Vindolanda, you need to take a step back and look at what you have achieved so far, to decide how to move forward. This is what we do during our ‘recording week’, between the 9th and the 14th of July. While the removal of turf, silt and clay to uncover structures and finds is exciting, what really allows us to understand the life of the communities that inhabited Vindolanda is the accurate recording of every layer removed. At Vindolanda we use the single context planning and recording method. Every ‘event’ in the history of the site is recorded in Read more...

Severan Feline Friends?

Vindolanda Trust - Wednesday, July 04, 2018
Interaction between cats and humans goes back as far as Ancient Egypt. However, some of our earliest clues to domestic cats in Britain come the Roman period. It is thought that they may have been kept as pets, but also to control the rodent population, particularly in and around the granaries where food such as wheat and grain was stored. (Cat skull found during the 2018 ditch excavations) Here at Vindolanda we find both cat and dog bones, as well as many other animals. Identifying whether what we have uncovered is a cat or a dog can sometimes be tricky, depending on what bones are found. One main and easy way to Read more...

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