Location: Roman Vindolanda, Bardon Mill, Hexham, NE47 7JN
Dates: 2-week periods April to September
Cost: £120 Excavation fee. £25 Friends of Vindolanda membership. £880 12 nights full board accommodation.
Age: 17+
Training / Experience: None required.
Accommodation: Places with accommodation and places without accommodation available. £880 for 12 nights full board accommodation.
Organization: Vindolanda Trust
Name: Colin Galloway
Address: Vindolanda Trust, Bardon Mill, Hexham, Northumberland NE47 7JN
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 01434 344 277


Roman Vindolanda

The Vindolanda Trust has been accepting volunteers on to its excavations since its foundation in 1970 and over 6700 people have benefited from this challenging experience. The Vindolanda Trust recognises the substantial contribution of its volunteer excavators to our understanding of the site, and therefore Roman Britain as a whole. At Vindolanda we are committed to the view that volunteer excavators should continue to have the opportunity to share in the experience of working on one of the most exciting archaeologically sites in Western Europe, and part of the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site.


  1. Helena
    June 22, 2009 @ 4:09 pm


    Really historically significant and impressive site, with lots to be found. beginner’s very welcome. site leaders are welcoming and know the site very thoroughly. £50 for 2 weeks – very good value.


    Would you recommend it? Yes
    What is your top bit of advice? Pack for all weather!! The nearest Youth Hostel and B&B within walking distance that they recommend are ok, but not great: there are some nicer B&Bs, and campsites around apparently if you have a car and don’t mind driving a short distance.

  2. Andrew Selkirk
    September 14, 2009 @ 4:10 pm


    Vindolanda, otherwise known as Chesterholm, is one of the forts that is not on Hadrian’s Wall itself, but which lies in the valley behind it where the main Roman road known as the Stanegate runs. It is today best known for the remarkable wooden writing tablets that have been discovered there.

    Vindolanda is not owned or run by English Heritage but by the Vindolanda Trust and the remarkable Birley family. In the 1930s, Chesterholm and the adjacent fort was owned by Eric Birley who subsequently became Professor of Archaeology at Durham and one of the leading archaeologists on the Wall. Ownership then passed to a Trust but work was continued by his two sons Robin and Tony. It was Robin who made the remarkable discovery of wooden writing tablets, preserved deep down in waterlogged deposits in abandoned early forts, dating to the early years of the second century AD, before Hadrian’s Wall itself was built. These were subsequently sold to the British Museum in order to pay for the excavations, but replicas can be seen in the site museum.

    Vindolanda is remarkable in that not only can the fort itself be seen but also the very extensive vicus, or civilian settlement – the most extensive vicus building to be seen in this country. The site today is approached through the new car park which leads in to the vicus. The vicus itself is laid out at an angle to the main stone fort, but this is because it was aligned on an earlier timber fort that has now vanished. Note that most of the buildings are strip buildings, long narrow buildings, end onto the road, where the front part facing the road would have been a shop, and the rear part workrooms and living accommodation. To one side of the vicus a short modern replica of Hadrian’s Wall has been constructed.
    In the fort itself most of the walls have been uncovered and also the headquarters building at the centre. To one (eastern) side the commanding officer’s house has now been uncovered with a small possible Christian church constructed in the courtyard in the sub-Roman period. On the western side, adjacent to the vicus, current (2009) excavations are revealing the granaries.

    Two bath houses are known, the original one in the vicus and a recently discovered one outside the southern gate.

    Beyond the fort (on the opposite side to the vicus) a steep path leads down to Chesterholm, the original house, now a museum and work rooms, a good shop and luscious tea rooms. In the gardens of the house are some reconstructed buildings including a temple and a sculpture gallery. The original car park, still available for the disabled, lies beyond the house.


    Would you recommend it? Yes