This is a temporary home
page for the online edition of the Vindolanda tablets during evaluation.
This page describes the contents of the website available during
the text. Please read them before continuing.
The wooden tablets excavated at the fort of Vindolanda, immediately
south of Hadrian’s Wall in northern England, include letters,
lists, accounts and reports dated to the late first and early second
centuries AD. The tablets, of which over 1,000 survive, are an internationally
important resource for the study of Roman frontiers and the army,
literacy in the ancient world and Latin linguistics.
The principal element of the website is a full online edition of
tablets from Vindolanda published in volumes I and II, including
texts, translations, commentaries, scholarly introduction and digital
images. The tablets are organised in a searchable database. Other
resources include a virtual exhibition, introducing the Vindolanda
tablets and their context, and a reference facility to assist non-specialist
users with more specific aspects of the tablets’ content.
Follow the links below for advice on using the website during the
trial period. Please note that a small number of pages are not available
during the test. These are specifically identified in the notes
We very much value feedback on the website and your general impressions.
Please use the questionnaire to submit your comments (the survey
itself is also available as a PDF document for printing, in case
you wish to post it in the traditional way or use it to write your
comments on paper before entering them into the web forms). We would
also be very grateful if you draw specific ‘bugs’, including
missing images or broken links, to our attention by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Technical information, browser requirements
Whilst the website has been designed to be generally accessible,
it is recommended that you don’t use a web browser with a
version number less than 4.0. Both Internet Explorer
and Netscape Navigator versions 4.0 and above should be fine, as
should other browsers of a similar sophistication (e.g. Opera).
Some elements of the site (rollover buttons, interactive maps/diagrams,
not be disabled in your web browser’s preferences
(it’s enabled by default, so you probably don’t need
to change this).
There are two versions of the Tablet Image Zooming Viewer, the
full version (which includes a magnifying glass tool) requires you
to have Java installed on your computer (this may
have been installed with your web browser, but not always). However,
there is an alternative “Universal Viewer” version you
can switch to which does not require Java. We particularly value
your comments on the use and usability of the image zooming tool
It is also recommended, but not required, that you set your monitor
to an 800x600 pixel resolution or higher for optimal viewing of
the site, especially for the Tablet Database.
As for hardware requirements, it is difficult to be specific. Most
of the site should run on even quite old machines, though the Tablet
Image Zooming Viewer is likely to require a reasonable amount of
memory (RAM) (e.g. 96Mb+ on Win95 /98/Me systems, 192Mb+ on Win2000
/XP / Mac OS 9/10 systems) and processing power (e.g. Pentium II
/ G3) to run smoothly, though it should still work on older systems.
The Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents (http://www.csad.ox.ac.uk/)
and the Academic Computing Development Team, (http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/acdt/)
Oxford University. The project is funded by the AW Mellon foundation
The principal resources are always available from the top navigation
bar (Tablets database, Exhibition, Reference, Help). The links in
the lower navigation bar are also available throughout the site
(‘about this site, contact, copyright, links, report and error,
news’). Within each of the major subsections the menu on the
left of the screen controls navigation. For more detailed information
on the principal resources and their use, as well as pages not currently
online, read the following sections.
‘Tablets’ comprises an online edition of volumes I
and II of the Vindolanda tablets. This contains a database of tablets
that may be searched or browsed, including texts, translations,
commentary and notes. New digital images captured directly from
the tablets are also presented, with a zoom facility that enables
close-up examination of large images. In several cases the digital
images have allowed the editors to improve on earlier readings.
These revised readings are available on the website. Help provides
a guide to searching and browsing the database, as well as interpreting
and customising the display of individual tablets.
This part of the site also includes scholarly supporting materials,
the introductions to volumes I and II, the introductions to different
categories of documents (‘Accounts and lists’, ‘Correspondence
of Cerialis’ etc), a bibliography and an account of the creation
of the digital texts and images.
On the individual tablet pages the facility to search Perseus for
the meaning of Latin words does not currently function, since maintenance
of the Perseus mirror site is in progress.
The exhibition introduces the tablets, gives a flavour of their
content and puts them in their historical and cultural context.
It also draws on archaeological evidence from Vindolanda and other
sites on Britain’s Roman frontier. The exhibition falls into
six different thematic sections, each with its own introduction
and a series of pages. There are links from the exhibition to the
reference section, which presents further information for non-specialist
users on more specific aspects of the tablets’ contents, for
example dates, weights and measures and currency. The exhibition
also encourages users to examine directly the evidence from the
tablets for themselves, through links to relevant tablets in most
of the exhibition pages. The exhibition can be explored in sequence
or it can be searched, based on the text or the image captions.
The full version of the exhibition is available.
The reference section includes guidance for more specialist aspects
of the tablets content. The sections include names, military units
and ranks, numerals, dates and a timeline of events, coinage and
currency, and weights and measures. These sections are also cross-referenced
to parts of the exhibition which contain further relevant information.
The information can be accessed by selecting the appropriate section
from the sidebar or by searching the text. The full version of the
reference section is available.
Help is divided into four main sections, general information and
site navigation, a guide to finding information in the database
(Tablets guide), a list of FAQs and instructions for searching the
website for text and images (excluding the tablets). The elements
not available during the test include an example inquiry (under
construction), an illustrated guide to using the Zooming Viewer
and the FAQs. Some items within ‘Finding information in the
database’ and ‘Individual tablets – interpreting
and customising presentation’ require minor updating.