Date Published: 19/05/2020

Julie:

Little did my husband know when he organised a surprise 50th birthday present for me in 2001, as a week excavation at Vindolanda, that 20 consecutive years later, I would still be taking part. I worked as a Primary School teacher near Preston. With a reception class, we dug a test pit on our school field and a 5 year old found a 6d coin … it took me 8 years to find my first coin at Vindolanda.


Little did I know that from post-excavation opportunities as well, that an interest in the animal bones recovered would lead me to completing a short course in Understanding Zooarchaeology and then Advanced Zooarchaeology at Sheffield University. As Chairman of The Friends of Ribchester Roman Museum, I was then able to give a talk to the members on the Importance of Animal Bones in Archaeology, something that I would never have thought possible.

So my 20th excavation and post excavation has been temporarily halted in 2020, but I shall look forward to another great bonus of my visits to Vindolanda, which is meeting up with the friends,staff and members of the public who share the passion for this wonderful site.


1. My most pleasing moment – during excavation of the Granaries, I found part of an inscribed stone, still with red paint visible in the
letters. When researched, it was found to be part of a commemorative plaque that had originally been found by Professor Eric Birley in the 1940's. I enjoy seeing it on display in the museum.
2. My most startling moment – washing a leather shoe and feeling the indentations of the toes of the soldier who had worn it.
3. My most satisfying moment – was washing and identifying a human humerus bone that was in the finds bag from the trench.
4. My most priviledged moments– were being lucky enough to have had conversations with Dr Robin Birley.
5. My most informative moment – is watching the Eagle Eye film at the Roman Army Museum. Not only do I like seeing myself in it for the briefest of time, but it tells such an amazing story.