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Vindolanda

Vindolanda was a Roman auxiliary fort located just south of Hadrian's Wall between England and Scotland, guarding the Roman road from the River Tyne, to Solway Firth, now known as the Stanegate. The garrison were auxiliary infantry or cavalry units, not components of Roman legions. The fort was originally constructed in turf and timber before Hadrian's Wall was built (in about 122AD) and was repaired and rebuilt several times. Later, apparently after a period of abandonment when the garrison transferred to a fort on the Wall itself (probably Housteads fort) a new stone fort was built approximately on the same site.

Vindolanda is famous for the finds of fragments of half-burnt wooden leaf-tablets with writing in ink containing messages to and from members of the garrison, their families, and their slaves. For example there is a famous letter written around 100AD from Sulpicia Lepidena, the wife of the commander of a nearby fort to Claudia Severa, wife of the commandant of Vindolanda, inviting her to a birthday party.

Further Reading

  • Birley, R., Vindolanda : a Roman frontier post on Hadrian's Wall, London: Thames and Hudson, (1977)
  • Bowman, A.K., Life and letters on the Roman frontier : Vindolanda and its people, London: British Museum Press, (1998)

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