Vindolanda - England
UNITED KINGDOM North England
- This project is examining the following period[s] : Roman
The Vindolanda ‘frontiers in transition’ archaeological research project provides a major opportunity to build upon previous work undertaken at the site of Vindolanda and is targeted at answering some of the most challenging questions left unanswered about the frontier. Over the course of its five years, it will directly provide over 2000 opportunities for volunteers to become involved in the work and gain first-hand experience of the archaeology and history of the world heritage site at Vindolanda. The project will help to maintain and improve the public and academic profile of research archaeology in Britain and on Hadrian’s Wall and has international importance. Over 90,000 visitors per year come to Vindolanda to watch the archaeology take place, and wider economic benefit of those visitors to the central section of Hadrian’s Wall has been assessed as being crucial to the local economy.
The ‘frontiers in transition’ archaeological research project covers three centuries of occupation at the site and examines how the earliest 1st century ‘conquest’ period of Vindolanda changed into a series of successive new frontiers; the Stanegate road followed by Hadrian’s Wall. The project also considers the frontier in its most settled period of the 3rdcentury and examines in detail the wider societal conditions of a frontier community in this period.
Research aims and objectives – an introduction:
The following research aims and objectives for this SMC application have been carefully considered by the Vindolanda Trust’s Research Committee in consultation with colleagues from across the profession. They offer an important sustainable continuity of the research strategy of the Vindolanda Trust and fulfil the wider aims and objectives as set out by the Agenda and Strategy section of the Research Framework for Hadrian’s Wall (Symonds & Mason 2009). In particular the scale and scope of this proposed project meet the criteria set out in the Action plan section of the Research Framework for Hadrian’s Wall under section D – Flagship projects (Symonds & Mason 2009: 58). The proposed project comprehensively covers a wide range of thematic initiatives which will deliver on multiple agenda items from the Research Framework and will continue to raise the profile of Hadrian’s Wall research on a national and international level while providing numerous opportunities for community/communities involvement in that research.
The project (The Vindolanda ‘frontiers in transition’ project) has three important main objectives, A1 – A3, each with a number of sub-objectives.
A1. The aims and objectives set out in A1 are to examine the transition from pre-Roman to Roman at Vindolanda and thereby gain a better appreciation of both the ‘conquest’ period and the foundation of the pre-Hadrian’s Wall frontier, otherwise known as the Stanegate Frontier. The most appropriate place to examine this transition is in the field to the north of the modern line of the Stanegate road. Here the remains of early timber forts have been partially explored in trial trenching work undertaken as part of the last SMC (2008-2012).
A2. The results of the 2008-2011 excavations have raised challenging and exciting questions as to how representative the north-western quadrant of the fort was when compared to the rest of the fort. The discovery of a temple dedicated to the god Jupiter Dolichenus during the 2009 excavations, constructed on top of the rampart mound, is a unique feature within a Roman fort from anywhere in the Roman Empire (Birley Andrew R & Birley Anthony R 2010: 25-52). That a temple should be found in such a context contests established perceptions of how military and religious spaces were used within a Roman fort. Added to this remarkable find, it became apparent that the barrack-blocks which were contemporary to the construction and use of the temple, situated to the immediate south, had been gated at its southern end. This was another unique feature which may or may not be directly associated with the nearby temple complex. The gated barracks may have been used to create a ‘gated community’ or closed off space within the fort itself, perhaps to house a detachment from a different regiment or a segregated part of the community. However, without a suitable comparable dataset of material from another quadrant of the 3rd century fort it remains difficult to ascertain whether or not those living in the north-western quadrant may have been ‘normal’ or representative’ as part of the more general fort community in the 3rd century.
To solve this problem the careful excavation of another quadrant of the 3rd century fort is required to provide a comparable dataset of material culture from which it will be possible to ascertain whether or not the north-western quadrant was representative of the 3rd century occupation inside the fort. This excavation will take place over a five year period in conjunction with area A1.
A3. The Agenda and Strategy report within the Research Framework for Hadrian’s Wall makes it clear that ‘it is important that researchers continue to devise new ways of interrogating and testing the relationship, both initially and over time, between the Stanegate and the Wall.’ (section 3.7 in Symonds & Mason 2009:38). The proposed research is targeted specifically at interrogating and testing the relationship between the Stanegate and Hadrian’s Wall. It will specifically search for the location of the missing headquarters and granary buildings from the period IV fort at Vindolanda, sites of key interest to this question. The period IV fort at Vindolanda, cAD105-120’s was crucial to this period of Hadrian’s Wall construction as it was the fort that straddled the important transition from the Stanegate to the Hadrian’s Wall frontier (cAD122-130).
The potential for learning more about the build up to and construction period of Hadrian’s Wall through an examination of the potential site of the headquarters and/or granary buildings within this fort is enormous. The excavation would take place below the floors of later 3rd century vicus buildings (already consolidated and on display) which are situated to the south side of the main vicus east/west roadway.
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facebook page: www.facebook.com/TheVindolandaTrust?fref=ts
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- Director/ Project Organiser: Dr. Andrew Birley
- Organisation or Institution: Vindolanda Trust
- Email Contact: email@example.com
March - September 2016
Some dig slots include onsite accommodation. You can also book your own separate accommodation in local hotels and B&Bs.
There is a standard excavation fee, plus all participants must be a 'Friend of Vindolanda'.
Excavate Only Place - £120 per period
Excavate & Hedley Stay - £1000 per period (Single Occupancy)
Excavate & Hedley Stay(Twin) - £1600 per period (price for 2 persons)
PERIOD 1 - March 28th to April 8th
PERIOD 2 - April 11th to April 22nd
PERIOD 3 - April 25th to May 6th
PERIOD 4 - May 9th to May 20th
PERIOD 5 - May 23rd to June 3rd
PERIOD 6 - June 6th to June 17th
PERIOD 7 - June 20th to July 1st
Recording week - July 4th to 8th (No Excavations)
PERIOD 8 - July 11th to July 22nd
PERIOD 9 - July 25th to August 5th
PERIOD 10 - August 8th to August 19th
PERIOD 11 - August 22nd to September 2nd
PERIOD 12 - September 5th to September 16th