Vindolanda A Roman Auxiliary Fort
Located in the present day Bardon Mill village in the northern England, on the southern side of the Hadrian’s Wall was the Roman auxiliary fort, Vindolanda. Vindolanda was the Roman Fort that guarded Stanegate. Stanegate was the Roman road from River Tyne to Solway Firth.
The antiquarian William Camden was the first to note the records of the ruins around 1586, but this remained neglected for quite a long time and the damage to the site was due to the stone stealing. The really useful archaeological work began only in the year 1814. Though several names were used for the site by different workers in their early records, the altar found in 1914 confirmed the real Roman name of this site as Vindolanda quenching all the disputes regarding the name of the site.
Histories noting specify that the earliest Roman forts at Vindolanda were made of wood and turf. There are 5 such timber forts that were built one by one. The remains of these forts are now buried in the anoxic waterlogged soil about 4 meters deep. The records quote that the first fort, a smaller one was built around AD 85.which was later demolished to build a larger fort. The Hadrian’s Wall was built in AD 122 and then the men were moved north of the Antonine Wall.
A stone fort was built at Vindolanda. This old stone fort was later demolished and replaced by the set of army buildings on the west along with the cluster of many small stone huts. These huts were probably built by the Roman army men for the British farmers and their families. To the south of the fort is large Roman Bath, and this bath was being used by many. The stone fort and the village which was in use till AD 285 was abandoned for unknown reasons.
Along with the ongoing excavations and the excavated remains, one can see a full size replica of section of Hadrian’s Wall in wood as well as stone. In 2010 there were remains that exhibited probably remains of a girl between 8 to 10 years with her hands tied, in a pit. This points at the possibility of the murder of this girl around 1800 years ago.
There is a museum on the site that conserve and display the finds from the excavation site. This Vindolanda site museum also called as Chesterholm Museum. This museum is set in the gardens, and this includes full size replica of Roman Temple, a Roman Shop and Roman house all with audio cover. The museum also has Roman boots, armour, jewellery and coins. The Museum at Vindolanda was reopened in the year 2011. There is also a Roman Army Museum at Carvoran.
In 1970, the Vindolanda trust was formed, this being a registered charity. This trust is meant to look after the site and the museum and later in 1972 the trust also acquired the Hadrian’s Wall fort, which further added to the Roman Army Museum at Carvoran also in the year 1997.There was a spectacular find, a bronze and silver brooch modelled with Mars figure.