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6. The ruins of the Roman Fort of VINDOLANDA and the Chesterholm Museum

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See also Walking on Hadrian's Wall, Housesteads Roman Fort & Roman Army Museum, Northumberland

Vindolanda Fort is sited on the Roman road of Stangate and most active in the 3rd (C3) and 4th centuries (C4)

The entrance and reception centre to Vindolanda Fort and Museum.


Vindolanda: In the courtyard beyond the entrance stand several busts of Roman origin, both in military dress.


Vindolanda: The headless statue to the Goddess Juno standing on an altar stone - both are replicas of originals found in Ibiza (Roman Ebusus).


Vindolanda: Two examples of the marvellous collection of notes written in everyday Latin inscribed on thin ???

Vindolanda: Above: Claudia Severa's birthday invitation to Lepidina.

Vindolanda: Below: Octavious reports his complicated business affairs to Candidus.

Vindolanda: The writing tablets consisted of flat shallow containers filled with black coloured wax and were inscribed an iron tipped stylus. Other writings have been found as black ink on 'leaf letters', a cheaper alternative to parchment or papyrus! The ink was made from carbon black mixed with gum Arabic.


Vindolanda: The sheer variety of archaeological finds at Vindolanda is astonishing e.g. worked jet decorations, pieces of textiles, wigs of moss (anti insect headpiece?), fine sculptures, coins, Samian pottery (from Gaul), animal bones -diet clues!, stone tablets, altars, tombstones, leatherwork including leather straps & leather shoes,  glass - some finely decorated coloured stained glass depicting soldiers.


Vindolanda: In the foreground is temple to an unknown god constructed in the early Roman occupation, later demolished and the site used for cremation burials. In distance the low rolling hills of typical of England-Scotland Border Country where Vindolanda is situated just south of Hadrian's Wall. One of the hills above, Barcombe Hill, still bears evidence of stone quarrying for the Roman fort's construction 2000 years ago.


Vindolanda had very good water supplies from wells and water tanks supplied by springs and streams. Above is a stone slab water tank system and the water was channelled to the fort and civilian buildings in aqueducts or timber pipes (no lead pipes?).


Outlines of the walls of an early civilian settlement.


Vindolanda: These may be temples or tombs? No altars were found here but lots of fragments of carved heads, legs and arms from statues!


Vindolanda: A section of the earlier Severan Fort built AD 208-212 with its large courtyard building, bath suite, Commanding Officer's residence and a series of barracks.


Vindolanda: The pillars - stone supports of the floor, under which warm air flowed from the heating system - hypocausts.


Vindolanda: Some of the floor stone slabs still in place after 2000 years.


Vindolanda: Hypocaust pillars.




Vindolanda: The base of the walls and the hypocausts?, good ventilation would be needed to keep the grain dry in the granary and stores building, which was probably later converted into living accommodation in the 5th century.


Vindolanda: The north gate entrance, which had twin guard towers and provided access to the main road now known as Stangate.


Vindolanda: On the east side of the north gate are the remains of circular stone building dwellings which extend beneath the later wall of the fort.


Vindolanda: The latrine (toilet) in the north-east corner Vindolanda Fort.


Vindolanda: The Praetorium - the commanding officer's residence, most of which dates from circa AD300 with alterations in AD370.


Vindolanda: The Head Quarters building (Roman 'Principa') which would have been the most impressive building in the fort where the regimental officers and their clerks kept the records of the Fourth Cohort of Gauls.


Vindolanda: Near the museum stands a replica Roman milestone erected in AD121. At the nearby Stangate road stand stands the only intact original milestone in its original position.


Vindolanda: In the grounds-garden of the museum are reconstructions of a Roman frontier house (above) and shop (below). These are based on the archaeology evidence of the excavations of Vindolanda.



Vindolanda: A reproduction of a Temple to the Nymphs - a replica of a water shrine. The inscription above the entrance reads NYMPHIS SACRUM VICANI VINDOLANDANDENNES which translates as 'The villagers of Vindolanda dedicated this temple sacred to the Nymphs'. Water nymphs were always popular in the Celtic world because of the importance of water to life.


Vindolanda: The wall paintings inside the temple are based on existing Roman examples, mainly from Pompeii and Herculaneum.


Vindolanda: Not sure what the carved stone on the right is, it stands near the replica temple and has some English writing on it.


Vindolanda: The 'back' of the temple across from four original Roman cemetery tombstones shown below from Roman cemeteries in Vindolanda, three men and one woman.


Vindolanda: Left: Tombstone of Cassius Saecularis - probably a centurion in the 9th Cohort of the Batavians.

Vindolanda: Right: Tombstone of Atticus - may have been a sort of 'warrant' officer with the 9th Cohort of the Batavians AD 100-104. You can see he is wearing military uniform.


Vindolanda: Left: Tombstone of Alicia - aged 25 years, 2 months and 13 days erected by a centurion of the Ninth Cohort of the Batavians.

Vindolanda: Right: The inscribed stone of the mausoleum to Mannuetus, erected by his father Lupulus. This probably is the tomb of a more humbler civilian person of the 3rd century AD.


Vindolanda: Above: The Lapidarium in the museum garden. Four exact replicas of Roman tombstones typical of a Roman cemetery.


Vindolanda: Another original Roman tombstone.




Vindolanda: The Chesterholm Museum - full of wonderful fascinating exhibits and a replica of a classical Roman statue.


Vindolanda: On the way out, more hypocaust floor heating system ruins in the commanding officer's residence. When the building was in ruins in the 5th century, a small Christian Church was built in former courtyard site.


Vindolanda: Right: A quoin - a stone for grinding grain like corn.

Vindolanda: Left: Part of the water supply or drainage system?


Vindolanda: A wooden reconstruction of part of what the fort defences would have looked like.

Vindolanda: From the fort reconstruction tower - a view of the west and south defensive walls.


Vindolanda: The west wall of the fort on the right and the remains of many buildings up the slope to the west of the fort.


Super day out, Vindolanda is well worth a visit, one of the best Roman sites in Britain

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