The rime of the ancient archaeologist

I qualify for the above title after having celebrated yet another birthday, this time up here in Vindolanda. Victoria organised a caterpillar cake, which compensated somewhat for being isolated from my family back in Leicester. Although I would have definitely wanted to spend my special day with them, working with some really striking pieces of ancient pottery on the site of a Roman fort wasn’t the worst way to hearken in another year in the life of Daan. In this, the Arch-I-Scan team’s second week at Vindolanda, we continued to work our way are working our way through bags and bags of sherds of pottery.

Decorated sherd of Samian ware Roman pottery from Vindolanda. Photograph taken with permission of the Vindolanda Trust.

It is good to work with colleagues again, even if it is three meters apart hidden behind layers of masks. And although it is far from the comforts of home, no one can complain about the amazing views and hiking trails all around us. On the weekend we were able to take the time to walk in the lovely Northumberland countryside along Hadrian’s Wall!

Milecastle 42 on Hadrian’s Wall

I do have a sneaking suspicion, though, that all this pottery is getting to me. When out along the wall, we stumbled across this Roman altar.

Roman altar in Great Chesters Roman fort

But I am starting to worry a bit about what I saw on it:

Detail of the above altar

Were my eyes deceiving me (surely I am still not that old!), or was it a Roman vessel carved onto one of the altar’s four sides? And later on, in the nearby village of Bardon Mill, there turned out to be a large pottery kiln on the main street!

Pottery kiln in Bardon Mill

And on the very grounds of the Chesterholm Museum, which we pass through on our way to our workspace on site, there is a reconstructed kiln as well!

Reconstruction of an ancient pottery kiln on the grounds of the Chesterholm Museum. Photograph taken with permission of the Vindolanda Trust.

I am even starting to dream about pottery! I think there is only one conclusion:

Pottery, pottery everywhere, and I am on the brink

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