Vindolanda Tablets Online Tablets Exhibition Reference Help

Reading the tablets

Vindolanda and its setting


Forts and military life



Reading the tablets

Scripts at Vindolanda

Chicken scratches - reading the tablets

Transcription exercise

about this exhibition

The scripts of the Vindolanda tablets fall mostly into the category known as ‘Old Roman Cursive’, a type of writing current in the first three centuries AD. The term ‘cursive’ here describes a business type of script, used for documents and letters. This part of the exhibition describes the script, including letter forms, punctuation and abbreviations and discusses the significance of Vindolanda for the study of the history of handwriting, or ‘palaeography’. We investigate why the script is so difficult to read and the role of technology in helping scholars to interpret the tablets. You may also test your familiarity with the script, with the aid of several tablets where a letter by letter transcription has been provided beneath each line.


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