Sunday, 27 June 2010
A Rollicking Roman Round-Up!
Guide to the Photos:1. My fellow volunteer, Michael, holding up the replica milestone (just kidding) at Vindolanda and myself (OK enough photos of moi...methinks...you know what I look like now...)
2. Another fellow volunteer, Lynn, snapping away at Vindolanda
3.Patricia Birley, Director of The Vindolanda Trust, Curator of the Chesterholm Museum, opening the Evening for the Friends of Vindolanda (June 26th pm)
4.Justin Blake, Deputy Director of Excavations, Vindolanda (June 26th pm)
5. Roman Soldier (June 26th pm)
6. Dr. Andrew Birley, Director of Excavations at Vindolanda (June 26th pm)
A lot of things have been happening lately and I've realised that if I don't write them down now then I'll forget what's going on...
At a recent meeting it was decided that the volunteers would start their tours around Vindolanda at 12.30pm until 1.30pm. We then zoom over to The Roman Army Museum to do our stint at 2pm until 3pm. The archaeologists also do a 2pm talk most days at Vindolanda as well...best to check the website and reception for further details. We may do extra tours as and when we can during mid/late September. (Our tours start around 16th/17th July and finish at the end of September. We do a further week - in the October half term week.)
The second annual Hadrian's Wall Archaeological Forum took place a week yesterday at Hexham's Queen's Hall and was well attended. All the speakers had us spellbound but the ones whose talks stood out (at least for me anyway) were: Justin Blake on his update of finds at(yes that place again) Vindolanda during 2009, Tony Wilmott, English Heritage, who talked about his discoveries at the Roman Cemetery at Birdoswald Fort and Richard Annis, Durham University, who talked about a bit of Hadrian's Wall which his team had unearthed in Melbourne St. Newcastle (now underneath a hotel but well preserved) and the BEMCO site in Newcastle where stone sarcophagi had been found (again by his team). Richard's memorable term was that of "body sludge" and which Latin term I discovered (by complete accident) is: adipocere. "When a body decomposes, it gradually turns into a waxy substance called adipocere." (From a recent quote/article in The Sunday Times featuring Alistair Pike, Head of Archaeology and Anthropology at Bristol University about the granddaughter of Alfred the Great.)[adipo = fat cera = wax]
We also had a returning guest stay with us especially for the Hexham Forum shindig and it was very nice to see him again.
This last extremely sunny week we've also had two Vindolanda diggers (plus another returning digger and his wife) staying with us. They had a whale of a time and really enjoyed themselves. They were working on Justin's section so we got a tiny update of what was taking place there prior to last night's annual Friends of Vindolanda Open Evening where the two archaeologists: Andrew Birley and Justin Blake explained (as they do each year) what they had uncovered in the year to date. Patricia Birley started the proceedings with an update on the exciting plans for Vindolanda and The Roman Army Museum. She announced that both sites will be closing on 1st November 2010 and would then be reopening in Spring/Easter 2011 in their new incarnations. A brand new 3D film of the Eagle's Eye is to be shown in The Roman Army Museum. Many attractions are planned for both sites including the coming home of some of the Writing Tablets from The British Museum to Vindolanda.
Very many of the Friends turned out for the talks. The weather stayed incredibly bonny and we all meandered down to the Museum at the end for wine and Roman culinary delights.
Before I forget this last thing...I'll mention it now...Channel Four are showing a documentary about the African Roman Emperor Septimius Severus entitled "The Untold Invasion of Britain" at 9pm this Thursday July 1st. In AD207 Severus decided to sort out the tribes and lands beyond Hadrian's Wall with disastrous consequences...
I'm also off to the Arbeia fort in my hometown of South Shields to do some digging on Wednesday. All supervised and above board of course!!!!
Vale for now! Hadriana :)