Tuesday 27 July 2010

Season Two: Day Thirty One

Not much to report on site today, so a brief consideration of the weekends field trip. We headed up to Segedunum at Wallsend then up to Corbridge (another Dere Street site) and then along to Vindolanda finishing up with Milecastle 42. Some rather random observations...

Going up the viewing tower at Wallsend it was clear how much bigger Binchester is compared to Segedunum. Even though they are both cavalry forts Binchester is noticeably larger and more elaborate. For example, the praetoria at Segedunum lacks the elaborate bath-house found associated with the Commander's House at Binchester. The barracks are also aligned in a different direction. However, it was noticeable how much larger the barracks at Segedunum were. Our 'barrack' in Trench 1 at Binchester is appreciably shorter and narrower. Its important to remember though that we are looking at what is presumably the latest iteration of a sequence of barrack constructional phases, and the earlier versions may well have been much larger. Our Binchester barrack also lacks the traditional arrangement of cavalry barracks with the stables placed next to the soldier's quarters (with the stables all having drains). Again, the late date of what we can currently see at Binchester probably expains this.

It was great to visit Vindolanda; another major dig. A very different kind of site though, with multiple forts. At Binchester we just have the two forts, the earlier one visible on the geophysics and the main fort we are currently working on. COnsequently the area of the vicus they are exploring at the moment starts relatively late and finished relatively early (probably late 3rd century AD). At Binchester the vicus continues in use until at least the late 4th century and possible later.

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