Vindolanda was one of the main Ancient Roman wall forts of Hadrian’s Wall, the 73-mile barrier built by the Emperor Hadrian from 122 AD.
However, Vindolanda is thought to have been inhabited by the Romans from 85 AD, following the victory of the Roman Governor Agricola at the Battle of Mons Graupius, well before this iconic wall was built.
Prior to functioning as a wall fort, the initial role played by Vindolanda was that of a fort guarding the supply route known as Stanegate, which ran from east to west.
Today, Vindolanda remains very well preserved and there is much to see. The structures at Vindolanda range from a pre-Hadriatic baths complex to post-Roman mausoleum and church, demonstration of the lengthy period for which the site has been occupied (up to the sixth century AD, well after the Romans had left).
Amongst other sites found at Vindolanda are military offices and barracks dating to the Severan period and numerous sites from the third and fourth centuries including houses, workshops, a Praetorium, a temple and more baths.
In addition to the reconstructions and excavated elements, there are also several replica sites on display, including a great timber and stone model of a section of Hadrian’s Wall and several Roman buildings such as a house and a shop, really bringing the experience to life.
For those wanting to see what else has been found at the excavations, the Vindolanda museum offers an array of artefacts including one of the country’s biggest ancient leather collections. It’s a testament to the high level of preservation of Vindolanda that a delicate material such as leather has survived so well. Writing tablets have also been well preserved and, while many of these particularly rare finds are now at the British Museum, some are always on display at Vindolanda, offering a fantastic insight into the lives of its former residents through their written words.