If the shoe fits

Vindolanda Trust - Monday, October 10, 2016

1,800 years ago the Roman army built one of its smallest but most heavily defended forts at the site of Vindolanda, which is now a part of the Frontiers of The Roman Empire World Heritage Site. The small garrison of a few hundred soldiers and their families took shelter behind a series of large ditches and ramparts, while outside the walls a war was raging between the northern British Tribes and Roman forces. Once the war was over (c AD 212) the troops and their dependants pulled out of the fort, and anything that they could not carry with them on the march was tossed into the defensive ditches. The rubbish in the ditches was then quickly sealed when a new Roman town and fort was built at the site, preserving the rubbish in an oxygen free environment where the normal ravages of time, rust and decay, crawled to a halt.


In 2016, the Vindolanda archaeologists excavated the ditch and discovered an incredible time capsule of life and conflict, and amongst the debris were dog and cat skeletons, pottery, leather and 421 Roman shoes. Visitors who were lucky enough to come to Vindolanda this summer watched in amazement as shoe after shoe was found in the ditch, each one a window into the life of type of person who might have once worn it. Baby boots, small children’s shoes, teenagers, ladies and men’s boots, bath clogs, both indoor and outdoor shoes. What has been uncovered conceivably represents more than one shoe for every person who lived inside the fort at Vindolanda at that time. Dr Andrew Birley, the Vindolanda Trust’s CEO and Director of excavations was thrilled with what he calls ‘an unbelievable and unparalleled demographic census of a community in conflict from two millennia away from today. The volume of footwear is fantastic as is its sheer diversity even for a site like Vindolanda which has produced more Roman shoes than any other place from the Roman Empire’.

The shoe hoard also gives an indication of fashion and affluence of the occupants in AD 212 with some very stylish and well-made shoes, both adults and children’s, a fact which has captured the imagination of football fans with one child’s shoe in particular being likened to a modern Adidas Predator boot. Sonya Galloway, The Vindolanda Trusts Communication Manager noted that ‘the popularity of just one of the shoes has given great exposure to our collection here. It is one of the great assets of Vindolanda’s Designated collection that many of the artefacts are everyday items, things that we can directly connect with, it is the fact that they are so well preserved and almost 2000 years old which is simply extraordinary’. 


The shoes are now being conserved on site with a specifically re-adapted building to cope with the quantity of finds. The Trust’s Curator Barbara Birley noted ‘the volume of footwear has presented some challenges for our lab but with the help of dedicated volunteers we have created a specific space for the shoe conservation and the process is now well underway’ Barbara went on to say ‘The Vindolanda Trust is committed to the excavation, preservation and public display of its finds although each shoe costs between £80 and £100 to conserve. Finding so many shoes this year has resulted in significant additional costs for the laboratory’.  In light of the cost associated with the shoe hoard the Trust has launched a fundraising campaign asking for support from the public to ‘conserve a shoe’.  Dr Andrew Birley commented the Trust does not receive any external funding towards the excavation programme and we exist as a result of visitors to the site and through the support of our volunteers and Friends of Vindolanda. This year has been exceptional and we hope 421 generous people will come forward and donate £80 to help us specifically with the cost of conserving these shoes’.  All those who conserve a shoe will receive a numbered Certificate of Conservation full details of how to conserve a shoe can be found on the Vindolanda website. www.vindolanda.com/conserve-a-shoe

-ends-                  

Shoe Press release

For further information or hi-res photographs please contact:

Sonya Galloway,

The Vindolanda Trust, 01434 344277

sonyagalloway@vindolanda.com

www.vindolanda.com

Follow us on twitter: @VindolandaTrust

Follow us on Facebook @thevindolandatrust

Notes to Editors

The Vindolanda Trust

The Vindolanda Trust is an independent archaeological charitable trust, founded in 1970. The Vindolanda Trust does not receive any annual funding and relies on the visitors to both Roman Vindolanda and the Roman Army Museum to fund its archaeological, conservation and education work.

Vindolanda was originally constructed as a conquest then Stanegate frontier fort, Vindolanda became a major construction base for Hadrian’s Wall in the early AD 120’s when one of the largest forts was in use at the site.  Once the Wall was completed Vindolanda formed part of the Wall garrison, in spite of the fact that the main curtain wall of Hadrian’s Wall was a mile to the north of the site.  The fort continued to play an active role throughout Hadrian’s Wall’s history. In periods when other Wall forts were abandoned, such as in the AD 140’s-160’s, Vindolanda was maintained, its strategic position regarded as a vital part of the frontier system.

The Vindolanda Trust collection gains national quality accolade

Vindolanda Trust - Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Vindolanda Charitable Trust near Bardon Mill, Hexham, has been officially awarded Designated status by the Arts Council England for its rare, unique and extraordinary collection of Roman artefacts from the Vindolanda archaeological site.

                          

Roman Vindolanda, situated in the central sector of the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site is regarded as one of the most eminent archaeological sites in Britain. The site which pre-dates the construction of Hadrian’s Wall, was home to at least 9 forts and 400 years of Roman occupation.  The ongoing annual excavations of this site have produced one of the greatest and diverse collections of material culture from anywhere within the Roman Empire, giving an insight into the everyday lives and activities of this frontier community. Highlights of the personal hoard of Roman artefacts are displayed within the modern on-site Chesterholm Museum at Vindolanda and at the Trust’s Roman Army Museum at Greenhead. An abundance of artefacts are on display from the everyday items such as well-preserved shoes and tools to extraordinary and exquisite belongings left behind nearly 2000 years ago.

     

 

Arts Council England’s Designation Scheme identifies the pre-eminent collections of national importance held in England’s non-national museums, libraries and archives, based on their quality and significance.  The Vindolanda Trust’s award proves that it delivers the highest standards, and that the Trust is committed to the continued recognition and promotion of this remarkable collection, for the enjoyment of generations to come.

Barbara Birley, Curator of Collections at the Vindolanda Trust commented: “We are extremely pleased to be awarded Designation status for our collection. It is a significant accolade, reflecting not only on the collection’s quality but also the impact that it has made, and is continuing to make, on modern archaeological research into the everyday life of the Roman people of Vindolanda.  This award supports a whole range of committed people who work, volunteer and research the site to help us understand and create fuller picture of our Roman past.”

Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, said: “We are delighted to be awarding this prestigious accolade to the Vindolanda Trust. The Vindolanda collection offers a fascinating and important insight into the history of the nation, and should be celebrated and shared with new audiences.”

-ends-

Download the press release - Press Release - Designation 

 

For further information or hi-res photographs please contact:

 Sonya Galloway,

 The Vindolanda Trust, 01434 344277

 sonyagalloway@vindolanda.com

 www.vindolanda.com

 Follow us on twitter: @VindolandaTrust

 Follow us on Facebook @thevindolandatrust

 

The Vindolanda Trust

The Vindolanda Trust is an independent archaeological charitable trust, founded in 1970. The Vindolanda Trust does not receive any annual funding and relies on the visitors to both Roman Vindolanda and the Roman Army Museum to fund its archaeological, conservation and education work.

 Roman Vindolanda and the Roman Army Museum are both situated in the heart of the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site, Roman Vindolanda is just to the north of the village of Bardon Mill and the Roman Army Museum is next to the village of Greenhead.

 Roman Vindolanda is regarded as the most exciting archaeological site in Europe with its wealth of archaeological remains and ongoing excavations. Vindolanda is home to the world famous Vindolanda Writing Tablets, voted as Britain’s top archaeological treasure by the British Museum, these thin hand written wooden notes have revealed an astonishing amount of first-hand information from the people who lived at this site 2000 years ago.

 Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature and crafts to collections.  Great art and culture inspire us, bring us together and teach us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, they make life better.  Between 2015 and 2018, we plan to invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

 www.artscouncil.org

             


Recent Posts


Tags


Last 12 Months


Archive

Use calendar below to find older posts

SuMoTuWeThFrSa
     12
3456789
10
111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Testimonials

Testimonials

"Totally impressed, like nothing I've seen before - great stuff" M & L C, England - Vindolanda