Roman forts were made up of many different military buildings inside a high wall with a village outside the walls. The shape of most forts was rectangular with rounded corners (like a playing card). Here is a map of what Vindolanda looked like around AD 213 based on the excavations. The blank spaces are only there because we have not excavated them yet. Below you can find out more about some of the buildings.


The Principia or headquarters building

This building was in the very centre of the fort. It was where the commanding officer would issue orders to the soldiers and the clerks would have offices. Also, there was the strong room where the pay was kept (why do you think they would need a double thick walls on this bit).


The Praetorium or commanding officer's residence

This was a huge house where the commanding officer (this one belonged to Sulpicius Pudens), his wife and family and his slaves lived. It was based on the style of houses in Rome.


The Horrea or granaries

Every Roman fort was supposed to have enough grain (to make bread) for six months for its soldiers. This fort would have housed 500 men so they would have needed a lot of grain. This is where it was stored. There were always two (twin) buildings for the granaries. We know from the excavations that the soldiers here did not just store grain in these buildings but also pottery full of imported goods like oil and wine plus many other things.



This is where the soldiers lived. Eight men per room plus all their armour and weapons. We also have evidence from the excavations that shows that women and children were living in the barracks as well. Can you find the centurion’s quarters? It’s the larger room at the end of the block. He would have lived in a bigger room and would have probably had slaves.


The Vicus or extramural settlement

This area outside the fort walls would have had shops, houses, workshops, temples and even the tavern. The bath house would have also been outside the fort walls due to the higher risk of fire.