Vindolanda

Vindolanda

Quick Facts

Replica Milestone at Vindolanda

Replica Milestone at Vindolanda

Where

Hadrian’s Wall north of Bardon Mill, Northumberland

Map and Website

When

  • First timber fort built in AD 85, after Agricola defeated northern tribes at the Battle of Mons Graupius (near Inverness, Scotland).
  • Vindolanda’s garrison 9th Cohort of Batavians (1000 strong, part-mounted) burn their rubbish before leaving for Dacians Wars in AD 105.
  • 1st Cohort of Tungrians move from Vindolanda to Vercovicium Fort (Housesteads) on Hadrian’s Wall in AD 120’s.
  • Third stone fort built in AD 213 and garrisoned by the 4th Cohort of Gauls (500 strong, part-mounted).
  • Fort at Vindolanda still occupied in 5th and 6th centuries.

What Remains

Ten successive timber (timber forts were replaced every seven or eight years) and stone forts were built at Vindolanda over the Roman period. So archaeologists have had to excavate at varying levels to a considerable depth to understand and study the remains here.

  • Extensive remains of early 3rd century stone fort, including walls, guard chambers, and gates. Also commanding officer’s house (principia), headquarters (praetorium), and granaries (horrea) inside the fort walls.
  • Military Bath House
  • Early Bath House
  • Civilian settlement (vicus) houses
  • Stone foundations of native British round houses
  • Romano-Celtic Temple
  • Reconstructions of stone interval turret, timber milecastle and turf wall section.

The Roman Army custom of putting down clay and turf over each demolished fort created anaerobic soil conditions here, which has preserved many artifacts and materials rarely found in the archaeological record. These include items of leather, wood, metal, textiles and wooden writing tablets with the words and thoughts of the Romans who lived here.

  • The Chesterholm Museum has excellent exhibits of shoes, tools, leather goods, pottery, jewelry and a display about the discovery of the renowned wooden writing tablets.
  • Giftshop with large book selection and unique gifts, such as replica Roman glassware and jewelry.
  • Open Air Museum has a reconstructed Roman temple, shop and house, also a reconstructed milestone and small cemetery.