In the Vindolanda collection and from the excavations, we have lots of evidence that shows that women were living here on site during all periods and across all spaces. Some of the artefacts are small like jewellery and beads. Other objects are more practical like hundreds of shoes. But some objects tell us a very special story like the birthday party invitation. Here we will explore these items further.


Some of our jewellery objects were definitely worn by men but others were worn by women and children. One excellent example of this are our small ear ring collection. We have about 5 ear rings from the collection, all made of gold. The reason for this is that if she divorced her husband, she could keep the ear rings.


Of the 5,000 or so shoes in the collection about 40% of them could have been worn by women and children showing us that they were very much part of life here. We even find shoes that were made cheaply to look like expensive shoes. Here is an excellent example of a nice lady’s shoe sole.

The birthday party invitation

Written by Claudia Severa to Sulpicia Lepidina, the wife of the commanding officer here at Vindolanda, this letter has the oldest hand writing from a woman in Britain. She asks Lepidina to come to her birthday party on September 11th to make her day more pleasant.  

Find more blogs about the collection here.