Spring is in the air! The birds have started singing louder, the crocus is flowering purple and white… and the Vindolanda excavation programme resumes! From the 29th of March, the Vindolanda archaeological team welcomes back its local volunteers to start the season looking forward to others being able to join us as the season progresses.

Every spring and summer at Vindolanda, with very few exceptions over the Trust’s 50 year history, over 350 volunteers from all over the world have gathered to participate in the longest standing excavation on Hadrian’s Wall. 2020 was such an exception, and the absence of volunteers was keenly felt by the whole team. However, we did not stand still! We are grateful to have received overwhelming support through our survival appeal and thank individuals who have donated to this fund to date. This has enabled us to continue the research albeit at a slower pace, without our legion of volunteers.

The archaeological team have laid the foundations of what promises to be a very exciting 2021 excavation season. In 2020, we deepened and expanded the small trenches which had been opened in the South Western quadrant of the last stone fort in 2019. We were fuelled by the exciting discovery of a Christian chalice and by the presence of yet another church. Our excavation work was timely: it ended up being incorporated into our latest publication- a research report dealing with 5th to 7th century life at Vindolanda.

This summer, expect big open spaces. Our visitors and volunteers’ safety and comfort is very important to us, so we will spread excavators out nicely across the whole South Western quadrant of the fort. If you plan to visit, this means that whichever direction you approach the excavation area from, you’ll have some live archaeology to witness.

Here are some of the questions we hope to find answers to this season:

  • Will the South Western quadrant mirror the South Eastern one, and reveal more large 4th century cavalry barracks?
  • How does a strange squared building with six separate rooms, uncovered in 2020, relate to the rest of the structures in the 3rd and 4th centuries in the SW quadrant?
  • How many more roundhouses dating to the Severan period (AD 200-212) will we be uncovering? 

We have much work to do, and we are raring to go.

Come and see history revealed at Europe's most exciting archaeological site. You might just witness our next major discovery.