National Significance The material culture left by the people of Vindolanda constitutes one of the greatest and most diverse single site Roman collections from anywhere within the Empire. It gives direct physical and intellectual access to objects, from firm archaeological contexts, that throw a blinding light on an important period in our nation’s history: from the foundation of the site in c. AD85 to its final abandonment sometime in the 9th century. The remarkable story of Vindolanda emphasises the importance of the every-day activities of this frontier community. Finds from the collections have radically improved understanding of the minutiae of life on the Roman Frontier. The anaerobic preservation of the earliest levels of occupation has led to a corpus of material culture where virtually everything left behind by the occupants survives in good condition, including the rare organic artefacts. Some of the highlights include the writing tablets, thousands of boots and shoes and personal items such as jewellery, armour, weapons and tools. Interior of the Vindolanda Museum showing the horse chamfron or ceremonial head mask and the weapons case in the background. The Vindolanda collection includes many items which reveal the Roman communities’ understanding of technology, architecture, language, government, town planning, their views of national matters and their own personal identity. Thanks to Vindolanda and its collection, we have a far better appreciation of the quantities and varieties of trade goods, the economy of the frontier and the province, the organisation and structure of the Roman frontier communities and the everyday significance of religious practices, and finally the Roman understanding of space and time, resource management and security. These existent and emerging themes not only provide a rich source of research material, but they also have a direct impact and profound significance for modern audiences accessing the collection. Recent excavations continue to reveal features and artefacts which constantly add to the history of the site and of Roman Britain. Between 1,500-5000 people would have lived at Vindolanda at any one time, but this population was not exclusively military. It included large numbers of women, children, traders and slaves and these multi-cultural people had access to goods which were imported from all over the empire including spices from Arabia, amber from the Baltic and olive oil and wine from the Mediterranean. Wine amphora from the Rhone Valley But the story of Vindolanda does not stop there. The site and artefacts in the collection also help us to better understand what happened after the Roman administration withdrew from Britain. A number of Romano-British Christian churches have been excavated on the site and the collection includes a small but significant group of 5th – 9th century artefacts left behind by the inhabitants of Vindolanda in this period. Together, structures and finds help us to better understand early Christianity in Britain. Portable Christian altar with early chi-rho.