This weekend, Helga and I attended the 10th Hadrian’s Wall Archaeology Forum at Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, in Hexham. A whole decade since the first forum! This was a day conference dedicated to the general public, with talks about new discoveries or ongoing work along the frontier of Hadrian’s Wall. This year, TUBA were invited to talk about some of the work we have been doing at Vindolanda.
Settled in the very cosy theatre room, reminiscent of the intermissions and ice cream trays, we had a warm welcome from David mason followed by some fascinating and masterful geophysics work at Corbridge from Ian Haynes. Following on was Jane Laskey talking about the excavations, history and catastrophic fires of Senhouse Museum collection, Maryport. Honestly, I had never heard of Maryport before but now I know, it looks cute and dainty (minus the fires)!
After a delightful tea and cake break, Rob Collins updated us on the WallCAP project (noting that it’s quite reasonably no longer called WallCLAP). This is a key project at getting locals involved with managing, sustaining and studying Hadrian’s Wall. Finishing off the morning sessions was David Mason again, reviewing the excavations and museum construction at Binchester. This included some fabulously renovated and decorated Roman bath houses, with one of the best preserved underfloor heating systems in Britain. This marked the end of the morning sessions, with our Vindolanda session starting after. But first, a wander around the Matisse exhibit and a delicious lunch at Buongiorno, which Vindolanda’s resident Italian Marta gave her two thumbs up to!
Marta Alberti began the hour-long Vindolanda session with a great review of all the exciting work undertaken this year, and what was coming up next year. I took the stage afterwards, talking about the work I’ve been doing with 3D imaging, ox crania, and pXRF (the X-ray gun I spoke about earlier). Helga spoke after about her collection of leather studies and exciting new techniques. This was a fantastic opportunity to introduce the public to some of the science work that TUBA have been doing with Vindolanda!
Concluding the day was Juergen Obmann talking about the various excavations and investigations of wood carried out along the Raetian Limes (with some fantastic photos from ye olden days), and closing remarks from David Mason. And that wrapped out visit to the Hadrian’s Wall Archaeology Forum – bring on next year! And to those looking to volunteer at Vindolanda next year, applications are open from the 6th November.
See you all soon,