About This Site
- to establish an online edition of the Vindolanda tablets
The online edition now represents the definitive publication of the tablets published in Tabulae Vindolandenses I and II.
- to provide a full, searchable set of digital materials related
to the tablets
- to enable and encourage wider access to and use of the tablets
An online exhibition introduces the tablets, describing their content
and the context in which they were found.
Who is the site created by?
The website is a collaborative project between the Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents and the Academic Computing Development Team at Oxford University. It is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Who is it intended for?
It is intended for everyone with an interest in the classical world and as a tool for research, teaching and learning classics, ancient history and archaeology.
It is a research resource for ancient historians, papyrologists, and archaeologists. We hope that interpretation of the tablets, which draws on many types of expertise, from philology to archaeobotany, will benefit from the increased dialogue within the scholarly community facilitated by online delivery.
This website is directly relevant to university courses in ancient history, archaeology and classics as well as palaeography and papyrology. For school teachers and students the subject matter is also relevant to the study of Latin, Ancient History and Classical Civilisation. In England and Wales relevant parts of the curriculum include modules on Roman Britain in Classical Civilization and Ancient History AS and A2 levels, and options on the Roman household, army and Roman Britain in Classical Civilisation and Latin GCSEs. Relevant information may also be found for teaching Roman Britain at Key Stage 2 of the National Curriculum and Minimus, a Latin course for primary school children, based on the Vindolanda tablets.
The development of the website is part of the Script, Image and the Culture of Writing in the Ancient World programme, supported by the The Andrew W. Mellon foundation. We are grateful to the individuals and organisations mentioned below who have contributed to the site's development or allowed us to use materials presented on it. We thank also participants at seminars and presentations who commented on the website during development and all those who have taken part in the evaluation of earlier trial versions.
We would like to thank the British Museum for permission to reproduce The Vindolanda Writing Tablets (Tabulae Vindolandenses II), Alan Bowman and David Thomas (1994, British Museum Press) and the appendix from Tabulae Vindolandenses III (Alan Bowman and David Thomas, British Museum Press 2003, 155-161). We thank also the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies for permission to reproduce the the introductory chapters and notes to tablets from Alan Bowman and David Thomas, Vindolanda: the Latin writing tablets (1983, Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies). The acknowledgements to the original print publications will be found in the printed editions of volumes I, II and III.
The capture of digital images by John Pearce was supported by an Arts and Humanities Research Board grant. We would like to thank the staff of the British Museum, in particular Ralph Jackson and Ray Waters, for their help during the imaging programme.
We are indebted to the kindness of Robin Birley and the Vindolanda Trust for allowing us to use images of the site at Vindolanda and artefacts from the excavations. We are grateful also to other individuals and institutions for permission to reproduce images, as well as help in identifying appropriate illustrations.
Lindsay Allason-Jones, Mike Bishop, Alex Croom, Tom Elliott, Martin Henig, Nick Hodgson, Chris Howgego, Fraser Hunter, Rosalind Niblett, Dan Robinson, Eberhard Sauer, Roger Tomlin, Clive Waddington and Sally Worrell.
The site at Vindolanda is one of the best-preserved and most extensively displayed on Britain's northern frontier and is open all year round. A large on-site museum also displays finds from the excavations. The tablets themselves are stored in the British Museum and some are displayed in the Weston and Greek and Roman Galleries. The sites and museums from which the other exhibition images are taken can be visited at Wallsend, Newcastle (Museum of Antiquities), High Rochester, Northumberland (Brigantium Archaeological Reconstruction Park), Edinburgh (National Museum of Scotland), Chester (Grosvenor Museum) and St Albans (Verulamium Museum).
Alan Bowman (Brasenose College, Oxford University)
Charles Crowther (Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents, Oxford University)
John Pearce (Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents, Oxford University)
Project management, software sourcing & customisation: Paul Groves (Academic Computing Development Team, Oxford University)
Database, 4Dscript & XML: Jessica Ratcliff (Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents, Oxford University)
Design, graphics & HTML: Joseph Talbot (Academic Computing Development Team, Oxford University)
Frédérique Landuyt (CSAD, October 2001-June 2002) also formatted and edited digital texts and images and Peter Haarer (CSAD), Margaret Sasanow (CSAD) and Professor David Thomas (Durham University) provided comment and advice throughout work on the project.
The design for the online edition was submitted to the ACDT project proposals scheme in May 2001. Work on the project began in November 2001 and was completed in February 2003.
Website and database development
The website was built through a collaboration between Oxford's Academic Computing Development Team and the Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents. The ACDT was generally responsible for the design and layout of the site, as well processing images, setting up and customising the tablet image zooming software and marking-up most of the text. At CSAD, the tablets database, tablets XML scheme, and interface scripts were developed.
The site is hosted on a PowerMacintosh server, running 4D 6.8 and WebSTAR V 5 on Mac OS X. The XML was processed using Apache's XALAN freeware. The high-resolution images are delivered using iSeeMedia Zoom Image Server. The graphical interface was developed using Macromedia Dreamweaver and Adobe ImageReady.
The core of the website is a digital version of volumes I and II of the Vindolanda Tablets, by Alan Bowman and David Thomas (Volume I, 1983, Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies; Volume II, 1994, British Museum Press). The digital images of the tablets were captured by John Pearce and were edited for online presentation by Frédérique Landuyt. The Latin texts of the tablets and the English text of the original publication were digitised by members of the CSAD.
The exhibition and reference sections were written by John Pearce, with comments by Alan Bowman and David Thomas. Help and other sections were written jointly by members of the team.