Colin joined the Vindolanda Trust in 2010, initially as Visitor Operations Manager to oversee the customer service teams at both the Roman Army Museum and Roman Vindolanda.

His current role as Deputy CEO, is to assist Andrew Birley with the financial and operational elements of running the Trust. It is therefore understandable that Colin’s top ten is not solely artefact based, and a more holistic “Vindolanda Trust” top ten.

10) Roman Classroom

The Roman Army Museum has several splendid audio visual elements, I particularly enjoy the feedback from our younger visitors who experience a lessons with holographic teacher Velius in the Classroom. It should be noted that mature students are most welcome and enjoy the lesson in Latin, geography, maths and morals and very often come out with as big a smile as the school children. 

9) Tools case at Vindolanda.

Looking at the everyday tools used by the Romans two thousand years ago and comparing them to our modern tools, there is very little difference.  Their tools of the trade are just like ours today. They need little interpretation and their design has certainly stood the test of time. 

8) Hadrian's Wall Replica at Vindolanda

Originally constructed in 1974 with assistance from Heathfield High School as an archaeological research project to determine the lifespan of turf and timber defences. From the top of the turrets, you get a fantastic view of the rest of the site’s  and can see Hadrian’s Wall on the Horizon. The replica has become a feature of the Vindolanda landscape and is enjoyed by all our visitors and especially visiting reenactment groups who feel very much at home here.

7) Roman Helmet Crest

Vindolanda Museum is home to many of the amazing artefacts uncovered in the last 50 years, however I am delighted that the Roman Army Museum has on display the only known helmet crest within the Roman Empire. The crest is made of hair moss and is a reminder of the anaerobic ground conditions which have enabled objects like this to survive where elsewhere they have perished. This artefact also made it onto our site archaeologist Marta's top 10. This is absolutely an artefact that you have to come and see. 

6) Curved Pay Office panels on display at Vindolanda.

Located in the coin exhibition room at Vindolanda is one of my favourite artefacts on display. Excavated in 1935 by Eric Birley and Ian Richmond the two panels would have been located within the pay office of the Headquarters building. The top of these panels is contoured and very smooth, due to the rubbing of leather while the soldiers awaited their denarii. Placing your hands in the same place, sends a shiver down your spine as you think of all the others who did this before you, over 1,600 years earlier.

5) Roman Magna

The Vindolanda Trust is extremely fortunate to have not one, but two Roman Forts within our land holding (not counting the other eight at Vindolanda!), and the thought of what lies beneath the ground at Magna, which is located adjacent to our Roman Army Museum, is mind blowing. Potentially uncovering a fort with as good organic preservation as Vindolanda is very exciting and would further enhance our understanding of Roman Britain, which is one of our primary aims. I look forward to meeting the challenges we face bringing the aspiration of further research at Magna a step closer.

4) Vindolanda Museum Terrace and Gardens

I can think of no better place for our visitors to have an afternoon cup of tea or alfresco lunch. The gardens are a sun trap in the summer, and our new deck has an outstanding vista of the gardens and fireball, with the temple and outdoor buildings nestled across the Bradley Burn. Truly blissful whatever the season. 

3) Edge of Empire film at the Roman Army Museum

Despite watching this short film multiple times, I still enjoy watching Atilla take us back to life on the edge of Empire nearly 2000 years ago. The film won an award when first released and continues to receive praise from our visitors to the Roman Army Museum. Much of the filming for the movie took place at Walltown, a wonderful stretch of Hadrian's Wall which is only a 20-30 minute walk from our Roman Army Museum. 

2) Writing Tablets

No top Ten of Vindolanda could omit the Vindolanda Writing Tablets. The information they have given us about life here nearly 2,000 years ago is unparalleled.  For me it is impossible to choose a single favourite tablet, a couple of my highlights –

Tablet 628  “P.S. I ask that you order beer, which the soldiers don’t have, to be sent.” From Masculus to Flavius Cerialis 

Tablet 154 – Strength report of the first cohort of Tungrians, a fascinating insight into the number of troops based at Vindolanda around 1900 years ago.   

 1) The people.

Without any doubts, the most enjoyable part of being Deputy CEO is working with the teams at Vindolanda and the Roman Army Museum.  The awesome Vindolanda experience is delivered throughout the organisation, and therefore my number one is the staff who I have the privilege to work with. They continue to receive praise from accolades due to going beyond the expected level and without them and the work done collectively our attractions would not be as special as they are.

One great team, two great attractions. We all look forward to welcoming you back through the doors as soon as we are able to.