Before Hadrian's Wall
Vindolanda lies just to the south of Hadrian's Wall and has a very different ‘feel’ to other sites along the Wall. It lies upon the first Roman frontier in the north – The Stanegate Road. You will probably drive along this road to reach the fort and museum. Vindolanda was occupied for over 300 years and was an important frontier fort and village long before the construction of Hadrian's Wall. Indeed, Vindolanda saw nine forts come and go in those three centuries when generations of soldiers and their families called this place home.
Live Excavation Experience
The excavations hugging the pretty landscape outside the museum at Vindolanda reveal the hidden stories of a mixed community of soldiers, families and traders. Witness the ancient fort of Vindolanda sprouting from the ground beneath you and feel time rewinding as each layer of soil is brushed away. See:* Pre-Hadrianic bath house* Several commanding officer’s residences and some barracks* 3rd and 4th century evidence of civilian houses and workshops, latrines, strong room and a Roman Celtic temple to an unknown God* Post-Roman mausoleum and Christian church* Replicas of a Roman temple and shop, a Romano-British house and replica sections of Hadrian's Wall in turf timber and stoneVindolanda is one of the few places in the UK where you can watch live archaeological excavations taking place. It's a riveting experience watching the Trust's team and volunteers from across the world uncovering the past's secrets and stories. Visit for yourself and see how it brings history to life right before your eyes!.
Roman Vindolanda Today
The Vindolanda site today contains both a modern world class museum using the latest interpretation techniques and display to tell a very old, very interesting Roman story and ancient buried forts regarded by many as one of Europe's most important and richest archaeological resources. This is why people from around the world travel to Vindolanda to experience its unique atmosphere and rare treasurers. Come rain or shine, Vindolanda, the outdoor site and indoor Museum will entertain you, your family or group.
An Archeological Journey
People come in their thousands to Vindolanda as it is a ‘live’ archaeological site. For the last forty years the site has been surrendering its thousand year old secrets on a daily basis. No other Roman site in Britain is as rich in its findings. Everything on display in the museum was found from the Roman site only yards away. These collections give us a very special insight into the normal everyday lives of our predecessors.
The Vindolanda Writing Tablets
The writing tablets are perhaps Vindolanda's greatest discovery and have been previously voted by experts and the public alike as 'Britain's Top Treasure'. Delicate, wafer thin slivers of wood covered in spidery ink writing, the tablets were found in the oxygen-free deposits on and around the floors of the deeply buried early wooden forts at Vindolanda and are the oldest surviving handwritten documents in Britain. Like postcards from the past, the tablets allow a rare insight into the real lives of people living and working at Vindolanda near Hadrian's Wall nearly 2000 years ago. They provide a fascinating and compelling insight into private and military lives from a very different time but are hauntingly familiar, covering matters - from birthdays through to underpants! Have we changed that much in two millennia?
Now, for the first time, and thanks to an investment running into millions of pounds, some of the Vindolanda Writing Tablets are on display in their home. Recently returned to Vindolanda on loan from the British Museum, the tablets are displayed in a new state of the art, special hermetically sealed case, protected from the decaying influence of oxygen, moisture and humidity.
Objects from the deep past including textiles, leather goods, wooden objects and flora and fauna have all survived thanks to the exceptional conditions found at Vindolanda. Did you know Vindolanda has the largest collection of Roman leather anywhere in the Empire? From shoes of all sizes and styles to bags and buckets, from purses to an archer's thumb guard. Wooden and textile objects presented include everything from wagon axles to parts of furniture, tent pegs, combs and even a child's sock! Other special finds include jewellery, bronzes, weapons and animal bones.