A beautiful morning and an early start, trying to make it to the site by 9am. Another digger stopped and offered me a lift, so I was there before 9 and the site was empty. Shortly the rest of the crew materialized and I set to work on the extension to my rectangle, with Sheila alongside, continuing what she had started on day four.
Soon it became clear that the ditch had indeed been found, but 90 degrees to what had been assumed, meaning that Sheila and I were almost certainly not in the ditch... An almost complete lack of finds for the first 90 minutes -- a sizeable hunk of ROman brick being the only execption -- contributed to a sinking feeling that the expected plethora of interesting finds in the ditch was not going to materialize in our zone. Adding to the anti-climactic mood, the bright but windy morning gave way to a heavy shower around 1:30, so we escaped to the safety of the tea hut. After a few brief returns to the trench followed by further showers, we made it back permanently by around 2:45, leaving only 45 minutes left to dig.
After we did our final trench tidying shortly before 4, we took team photos (on other people's cameras, hope to get one later) and then we had the option of guided tours of either the current work in the vicus with Justin Blake, or an update on progress in the fort with Andy Birley. Having heard little about the vicus I chose to go there and we had an interesting 15 minutes listening to Justin summarize the vicus project and talk about the recent finds (one that I can't describe here, but will undoubtedly make the news sometime in the next few weeks or months) and current theories about the relationship between the vicus and the fort. We all went our separate ways, so I took the chance to take some final pictures around our site, having had to keep the camera in the tea hut most of the day. Here's the real ditch, the edge being approximately where the line is:
While waiting for mum to meet me I took some shots of the views around the fields beyond Vindolanda, with the storm clouds still hovering:
After meeting up with most of the team in the bar at the TBI, mum and I went for a quick drive down the military road and back via Steel Rigg. The near-sunset views were simply breathtaking. Here's almost the last one of the evening, just north of the wall:
So the blog comes to an end. Thanks to Beth, Charlotte, Jane, Mark, Jonathan, Sheila and Kevin for an unforgettable 5 days. The TBI was also a great place to stay, maybe I'll be back again...