Archaeologists have found a collection of 1,900 year old ink documents at the Vindolanda Roman fort in Northumberland, northern England, one of the most exciting archaeological sites in Europe.
Vindolanda was a Roman auxiliary fort just south of Hadrian’s Wall. The fort was founded in 85 CE by Belgian auxiliary soldiers and was inhabited in various forms and layouts until well after 410 CE. It was garrisoned at different times by several units, most importantly the First Cohort of Tungrians and the Third and Ninth Cohorts of Batavians. Image credit: Vindolanda Trust.
The Vindolanda writing tablets (letters, lists and personal correspondence) are wafer-thin pieces of wood, often less than 2 mm thick.
The 25 new documents were uncovered during the research excavation of a small area of the site and are likely to represent a part of an archive from a specific period.
“Some of these new tablets are so well preserved that they can be read without the usual infrared photography and before going through the long conservation process,” said archaeologist Dr. Robin Birley, who made tablet discoveries at Vindolanda in the 1970-80s.