Vindolanda is a ruined Roman auxiliary fort south of Hadrian's Wall. It protected the Stanegate, the road from the River Tyne to the Solway Firth.
The earliest forts were built of wood and turf. The remains of these are buried up to 4 meters deep in the waterlogged soil. Five timber forts were built, one on top of another, of various sizes to suit the needs of the roman army at the time.
Soon after Hadrians Wall was built, in 123AD, most of the men moved to the Antonine Wall. The remainder built a stone fort at Vindolanda. In 208 to 211 AD, a major uprising against the Romans in Britain caused the Emperor Septimius Severus the lead an army into Britain to crush the rebellion. The stone fort at Vindolanda was demolished and used the stone to build round stone huts. It is thought these were built to house the British farmers in this unsettled period.
Septimius Severus died in York in 211 AD. His sons paid off the rebels and left for Rome. The round stone buildings were demolished, and a new large stone fort was built in place of the huts.
A vicus, a self governing village developed west of the fort. The vicus contains several rows of buildings, each containing several one-room chambers. To the south of the fort is a large Roman bath house. The fort at vicus was abandoned in 285 AD.
Around 300 AD the fort was rebuilt, but the vicus was not repaired or reoccupied. In 370 AD the for was again repaired, but this time is was by unskilled labour and slowly fell into decline.
Today the site is being slowly excavated. It has revealed thousands of historical items which are now stored on site in the museum.