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Ref.nr.: 34676

Roman Army Museum and Vindolanda, England

Roman Army Museum and Vindolanda

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Visitor Centres and Museums


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Opoen 7 days a week

Roman Army Museum and Vindolanda Visitor Centre or Museum in Hexham, Northumberland, England


The most exciting site on Hadrian's Wall.

The Roman army appears to have occupied the site of Vindolanda around AD 85. It was called 'Vindolanda', perhaps because they were turning into Latin an existing native name, thought to mean 'white lawns' or something similar. The fort guarded the central section of the vital east to west supply route, known now as the Stanegate, and when the Wall was built some 40 year later, Vindolanda took its place between Housesteads and Great Chesters as a Wall fort. The early forts were built in timber, and required replacement every seven to eight years, even if there was no change in garrison, and the fifth such fort was constructed early in Hadrian's reign.

The remains of these early forts now lie some two to six metres below the present turf, protected by the later remains of stone structures. The Roman army custom of laying down a clean cover of clay and turf over demolished structures before rebuilding has created anaerobic conditions in many areas, and the lack of oxygen has led to the survival of almost everything that has been lost or discarded at the time. The Museum, in the valley just to the east of the site of the stone fort already holds a vast range of leather goods, textiles, wooden objects, bronze and iron objects. But the most highly prized of all are the slivers of wood, covered in spidery ink writing - the official and private correspondence of the men and women who lived at Vindolanda nearly 2000 years ago. Their accounts, military documents, leave requests and even drawings all date to the year immediately before the construction of Hadrian's Wall, and they form the earliest archive of written material in British history.

Watch archeologists at work April - September.


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