The Roman Empire stretched from North Africa and Arabia in the south, to Britain in the north, and from Spain in the west, to Iran, Armenia and the Caucasus Mountains in the east.
Trading routes brought many travellers, objects, materials and exotic spices to Britain, transported by ship across the Mediterranean and by cart along the network of Roman roads, to be delivered to Vindolanda.
Some objects, which were made from woods not native to Britain at that time, were imported. Boxwood, grown in the Pyrenees in France and Spain, was used for many items as it was resistant to decay.
Larch, spruce and silver fir from the Alps were made into barrel staves, travelled to Britain and arrived at Vindolanda, having been emptied and refilled several times en route.
Smells can often invoke memories and something like pepper has a distinctive smell. Pepper was used in Roman times to add spice to their cooking. One item in the Vindolanda collection was found to contain a black substance probably black pepper. Imagine its journey from Asia to this edge of the Roman Empire.
There must have some wheelwrights employed at Vindolanda. In 2014 Gary unearthed the rim of a wagon wheel still fitted with two spokes. Was it the wagon referred to in tablet 185. Axses carraries duos ad raedam (wagon axles two for a carriage).
The combs found at Vindolanda may have travelled many miles from Europe to this northern edge of the empire. Still recognisable today, Bea tells us about her connection with these beautiful objects.