Further to the recent visit by the Friends of Castleshaw Roman Forts to the Manchester Museum to see the finds from the 1907-1908 excavations at Castleshaw, near Manchester, I went on the excursion to Vindolanda Roman fort yesterday organised by the Friends.
When we arrived at Vindolanda it was pouring with rain and rivulets were streaming down the coach windows. We made a beeline for the newly refurbished museum and saw the new displays, featuring some of the writing tablets for which the site is famous. Afterwards the weather had settled down and we stopped off at Cawfields milecastle on Hadrian’s Wall to stretech our legs before the long journey back to Uppermill. The vallum, the earthwork that protected the wall from the south, stood out very clearly as this photo shows.
The new displays at the Vindolanda Museum are well-designed. One of the first cases you see is a particularly handsome case of Roman samian ware pottery. Though visually striking, the new displays seem not to offer the level of detailed information visitors used to enjoy in the old displays. The displays of Roman pottery are more generic and do not give the dates when the various wares were used on the site.
I particulary liked the mass of Roman leather sandals. Objects made of organic materials survives remarkably well in the anaerobic conditions on this site.
It made me think of the missing leather objects from Castleshaw Roman fort excavated in the early 20th century. They were last seen before the 1970s. Perhaps they will turn up like the neolithic stone axehead found in the Botany department of the Museum last week… If anyone out there has seen them or knows what hapened to them do please let Manchester Museum know.